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Ironstein has raced in many centres up and down the eastern seaboard and will cross Newcastle off the bucket list on Thursday.

Several of the veteran stayer’s owners live in the area but it has taken until his 54th start for trainer Gerald Ryan to be able to fit Newcastle into the eight-year-old’s program.

And it is the club’s biggest race that Ryan has his sights on with Ironstein who runs in the Group Three Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m).

“We’ve tried to get him there twice before but things haven’t worked out,” Ryan said.

“Many of his owners live in Newcastle so it’s great to be able to take him there and hopefully he can come away with the win.

“His last start showed he was on the right track.”

Ironstein ran an eye-catching second to Less Is More in the Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill on August 31, making up many lengths in the straight.

On that occasion he was a $51 chance but $9 was the TAB’s price on Wednesday for the race which Ryan said was an integral part of his spring campaign.

“The Newcastle Cup and the Queen Elizabeth are the two main targets this time around,” he said.

“He’s in the bigger races again and if he gets there, so be it.”

Ironstein narrowly missed a berth in the 2011 Melbourne Cup and won that year’s Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).

Last year he missed out on the big one again and ran second to reigning Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune in the Queen Elizabeth.

He was unplaced when tried over 3200m for the first time in the Sandown Cup with Ryan unsure whether the distance was beyond him or he had simply come to the end of an arduous campaign.

Ironstein is by champion sire of stayers Zabeel out of multiple stakes winner Gentle Genius, a mare owned by John Singleton who has shares in her son.

The Gai Waterhouse-trained Danas Best is the steady favourite for the Newcastle feature at $4.20 with local hope Ghost Protocol at $8.50.

 
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