Veteran gelding Ironstein is in his best form for two years going into just his second Group One race and trainer Gerald Ryan believes that should be enough for a bold showing in the Metropolitan at Randwick.
In the spring of 2011, Ironstein ran a solid fourth in the race and went on to win the Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington two starts later.
Now an eight-year-old, Ironstein goes into the Metropolitan (2400m) off a long head second to Less Is More in the Premier’s Cup followed by an unlucky fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Hill Stakes (2000m) won by Moriarty.
“He’s going terrific and his runs back from a spell have been really good,” Ryan said.
“He didn’t have a lot of luck when he finished fourth two years ago. He goes there this time with no weight on his back and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Ironstein has 52kg ahead of final acceptances and will be ridden by Brenton Avdulla.
He is an outsider at $51 with Prince Cheri the favourite at $3.60 as he attempts to consolidate a Caulfield Cup berth with a penalty from a win in the Metropolitan.
While he expects Ironstein to run his usual professional race, Ryan is full of hope for his new season babies as Sydney puts on its first two-year-old races of the season – the Breeders’ Plate and the Gimcrack Stakes, both over 1000 metres.
Fillies Lucky Racquie, Taraneem and Tetsuko, all won barrier trials last week while Klammer can put himself in the frame for the Breeders’ Plate if he runs well in a trial at Rosehill on Tuesday.
“I’ll see how he trials but if he goes well, he will run in the Breeders,” Ryan said.
“A lot depends on barrier draws with these young horses but they are all going well.”