By Ray Hickson
The spring isn’t really on trainer Gerald Ryan’s mind with Zourhea but another win at Randwick on Saturday could earn her a shot at black type before the carnival heats up.
Zourhea faces a decent challenge in the Happy Clapper Special Achievement Handicap (1600m) with a 2.5kg rise and a weight swing against her on her third-up win but that stakes opportunity will present if she overcomes it.
The mare defied a track bias to win on the Kensington track two weeks ago and Ryan feels she’s in her comfort zone around the mile.
“If she can keep winning, I don’t think you’d go into the spring but we might look at a race like the Rowley Mile,’’ Ryan said.
“Her first two runs back were good, she’s got good form at this journey and good form on heavy tracks.
“She goes up 2.5kg and the horse she only pipped on the line (Derbari) they are claiming off. The 50m further will suit us and the bigger track will suit us even though she goes well on the Kensington track.’’
The Listed $150,000 Rowley Mile (1600m) is run at Hawkesbury on August 20.
Ryan isn’t placing too much emphasis on the fact that Zourhea, $4.40 with TAB, was the only horse to win at Kensington two weeks ago coming from last and just hopes the tough run hasn’t drained her.
Zourhea wins at Kensington on July 18
He adds, though, the five-year-old has a very good constitution so wouldn’t expect the two week turnaround to be an excuse.
“They went pretty quick up front and ran home in slow sectionals, she just kept grinding away,’’ he said.
“I know it was against the pattern but in her case it was speed related.
“She looks very well, she’s trained on well but when you have a hard run on a heavy track and back them up two weeks later you don’t know how much it’s taken out of her.
“She’s always a good doer, she always works the same and I’m happy with her going into the race.’’
Stablemates Peace Of Mind ($11) and Compatriot ($13) are in races they can be competitive, Ryan said, with the former racing without blinkers for the first time while the latter is looking for a clean getaway.
Peace Of Mind was a first-up winner at Newcastle before finishing third on heavy tracks at Kensington and Canterbury and Ryan is removing the shades to help her relax for the step out in trip in the ATC Thank You Trainers Handicap (1800m).
“She’s a good honest mare going terrific, she doesn’t know how to run a bad race,’’ he said.
“She’s had blinkers on all her life. I’ve always thought she’d run the journey no problems but in her last couple of starts she’s just been a bit keen in the mid stages.
“She always trials without blinkers and works without them, so I thought we might take them off up to this journey.’’
Compatriot kicks off the day in the Industry Celebration Race Day Handicap (1300m) and the trainer is sure she has more to offer than her second-up sixth at Kembla on July 23 shows.
“She missed the start and got back in behind them,’’ he said.
“She didn’t get a clear run but finished off quite strong late. By missing the start and getting squeezed out she ended up too far back in an average run race up front.
“I’d like to see her step away and a bit of tempo but she’s drawn wide again so it’s awkward.’’