Gerald Ryan arrived at Randwick for the Expressway Stakes meeting with butterflies in his belly and he left with a tear in his eye after Standout proved himself the real deal with a dominant victory.
Taking on older horses for the first time, the colt emulated the feat of former stablemate Trapeze Artist to become the latest three-year-old to win the Group Two Expressway Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Fierce-going as a youngster, Standout ($7.50) showed the benefit of time, patience and hours of training, relaxing beautifully in the run for Tommy Berry and spearing clear to beat last year’s winner Alizee ($1.90 fav) by 1-1/2 lengths.
White Moss ($14) ran a terrific race to finish another half-length away, just ahead of the Chris Waller-trained Kolding ($4.20) who warmed up late.
Ryan said he felt anxious pre-race in anticipation of what Standout could do, and emotional after it when the horse came out and did it.
“I was confident coming in he could do that but you don’t know until you try them,” Ryan said.
“You’ve got Chris’ horse (Kolding) who is probably one of the best horses in Australia and Alizee, who is probably the best mare in Australia and that little white thing (White Moss) never knows when to run a bad race.
“It was his test and sure, he’s got to make the next level and take on the best horses but he’s got a Group Two against his name now.”
Standout showed enormous potential in the spring winning three of his four starts, including a stakes victory against his own age.
“He has always shown that he had Group One ability,” Ryan said.
“He hasn’t got there yet but he’s certainly going to have a crack at it this autumn.
Berry was content to keep Standout in a rhythm and sit wide, rather than try to restrain him.
He said the colt quickened so well coming around the home turn he knew his rivals, including Hugh Bowman on favourite Alizee, would struggle to run him down.
“I said to Hugh as we pulled up did I beat you on the corner? He said yes and I felt it,” Berry said.
“When I asked him to quicken he put them away very quickly.
“I thought he was a Group Two horse, just behind those Group One horses because the three-year-olds this year are out of this world, the best crop I’ve seen.
“But maybe he is getting closer to them now, he might be ready to give them a shake.”
Bowman was satisfied with the return of Alizee and said she would take improvement from the run.