Tye Angland expects Press Statement to match the favourite Exosphere well enough on the score of fitness to set up a classic confrontation between the two colts in the Golden Rose at Rosehill on Saturday.
Press Statement was beaten for the first time in four starts when he finished more than a length second behind Exosphere in the Run To The Rose.
The JJ Atkins winner was having his first start since the Brisbane winter carnival and Angland says the Chris Waller-trained colt would come on a lot from the lead-up run.
He’s not so sure about Exosphere.
“The reports were that Exosphere was pretty rock-hard fit whereas our horse was only about 80 per cent fit,” Angland said.
“If he takes the sort of improvement I expect him to, it is going to be a really good fight to the finish between those two horses again.”
Exosphere has been at the top of Golden Rose betting since Vancouver’s defection was announced last week, but the Godolphin colt eased marginally on Wednesday from $2.90 to $3.
Press Statement remains solid at $3.60 while Speak Fondly, the only filly in the race, continues to firm and she is a $4.60 chance.
They are the only three runners under double figures with Angland convinced Press Statement can increase his appeal as a future stallion by continuing a domination of colts winning the 1400m race.
Since the Golden Rose became a Group One event in 2009, five colts have been successful including the Waller-trained Zoustar in 2013.
“His first-up run was perfect, he was finishing off strongly and obviously the further distance is going to suit him,” Angland said.
Angland said Press Statement’s versatility could make the difference between winning and losing.
“He’s a good enough horse to overcome anything,” Angland said.
“He’s got great tactical speed, he can relax and you can ride him back and you can ride him forward.”
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Speak Fondly will be trying to become only the second filly to win the Golden Rose but stable spokesman Mark Newnham said not too much should be read into that lack of success.
“It’s probably been a case of the best filly each year never going around in it because there are so many options for them through the Princess Series,” he said.