By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gerald Ryan is confident there’s still time for Condor Heroes to realise his potential despite injury putting him a long way behind his peers.
Cast your mind back a year and Condor Heroes was spoken of by Ryan alongside the likes of Menari and Trapeze Artist until he suffered a condylar fracture to his off fore leg in the San Domenico Stakes last August.
The rising four-year-old makes his racetrack return since that day in the ATC Hong Kong Tour Sprint (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
It’s the first step toward proving he’s worthy of working towards some of the early spring sprint features.
“He’s as fit as he can be first-up off such a long break without having a run,’’ Ryan said.
“He has the potential to go on and be a stakes horse, I don’t know whether he is a Group 1 horse. I think he can go on, he is working as good as anything in the place.’’
Condor Heroes was being aimed at the Golden Slipper as a two-year-old but that plan was soured when he was scratched at the barrier in the Pago Pago Stakes a week before the race.
Four days after the 2017 Slipper he led all the way to win at Warwick Farm then bombed the start before flashing home to run second in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes.
The injury, first-up last spring, ended Ryan’s hopes of Condor Heroes joining Trapeze Artist and Menari in the Golden Rose.
“He had a condylar fracture just near his canon bone and they put a screw in his leg,’’ he said.
“Sharscay had three screws in his legs when he was four and he raced on until he was 10. He’s 26 now and he still has them in there.’’
Ryan has been pleased with Condor Heroes’ build up to Saturday’s race, where he was $3.70 TAB favourite on Thursday having opened $4.60.
It has to be said, though, that the colt’s two barrier trials have been polar opposites – he led by a big margin at Rosehill on his first on July 9 then 11 days later sat off the speed and ran into third at Warwick Farm.
“When he’s trialled at Rosehill he’s always trialled fast. He did it last year then we took him to Warwick Farm and sat back in the field,’’ Ryan said.
“He’s done exactly the same this time. James (McDonald) couldn’t believe the difference in him from one track to the other.
“But his first trial was 1000m so they didn’t actually go that fast, so he was eight or 10 in front but wasn’t running them into the ground.’’
Condor Heroes sits off the speed and runs third in a Warwick Farm trial on July 20
So which Condor Heroes are we going to get at Rosehill on Saturday?
“I’d like to see him settle a bit, if you give him a kick and he goes too hard he runs himself into the ground,’’ Ryan said.
As of Thursday the trainer hadn’t made a call on whether both Albumin and Star Of Monsoon will line up in the ATC Thanks Owners Handicap (1200m).
The decision will have an affect on the market as Star Of Monsoon was $3.70 favourite and Albumin second elect at $5.
The former was scheduled to race at Randwick next Saturday but an alteration to the benchmark of the race Ryan had in mind rules the last start winner out as he’d carry too much weight.
Albumin, chasing four wins on the trot, came up with an awkward alley in 12 but again strikes his preferred good ground.
If both line up Ryan said they are fit and well and he expects them to perform.
Last start winner Vienna Romance has been treading water since she scored at Canterbury a month ago and Ryan said if she gets the breaks she can be competitive in the NSW Racehorse Owners Association Trophy (1200m).
“When you look back through her wins she’s always had a good run in the race,’’ he said.
“She’s had no interruptions and had one crack at them. She’s not strong enough to get a checkered passage and still win.’’