While much-anticipated rain in Sydney would be welcome, the weather could have an impact on the programs of several runners at Rosehill.
Trainer Gerald Ryan has promising two-year-old Return With Honour scheduled to race over 1100 metres but is also looking at options if the track comes up too wet.
Up to 40mm is predicted in the two days leading into Saturday’s meeting with rain also forecast for race day.
Adding to Ryan’s concerns with the colt is his wide barrier in the Iron Jack Handicap.
Return With Honour, who led all the way to win on debut at Randwick on December 26, has the second-widest gate in the field, which has been reduced to 12 with the scratching of Bazooka.
He is being set on a path to the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on February 22.
“If the rain does happen to come and depending on how much there is, we have the option to run a week later,” Ryan said.
“There is a 1000-metre race at Randwick or the Blue Diamond Preview at Caulfield over the same distance.
“That still gives him two weeks to the Blue Diamond Prelude and another two weeks to the Blue Diamond itself.”
If he runs at Rosehill, Ryan said the barrier would probably dictate tactics and he was likely to lead.
“He sits behind them in track work but the barrier means he would go forward again,” he said.
Return With Honour is owned by Mongolian businessman An Zhiqiang, who last week paid $1.1 million at the Magic Millions sale for a Redoute’s Choice colt out of Gresset to be trained by Ryan.
The trainer will also saddle In Lighten Me (Jack Ashman Handicap, 1300m) Coterie Mark Merlino Handicap, 1200m) and Bandersnatch (Rosehill Bowling Club Handicap,1500m).
“I think they will handle it if it is wet,” Ryan said.
“They are all racing well.”
After putting two wins together at Hawkesbury and Randwick, Bandersnatch finished second to Leviathan at Randwick on December 28.
Leviathan was in the mix for the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast on Saturday but was scratched after he broke through the barrier.
Coterie has not won for some time but his recent fourth at Randwick last Saturday week when he was wide throughout was encouraging.
In Lighten Me was also fourth last start at Randwick on January 4 after putting together provincial wins at Gosford and Hawkesbury.
The Ryan-trained three-year-old Standout was an impressive barrier trial winner over older horses on Tuesday and will resume on February 1 or a week later.