By Ray Hickson
He was a work in progress through his entire three-year-old year and co-trainer Gerald Ryan now believes Bottega has taken the steps necessary to aim him at some lucrative races through the rest of this year.
Ryan, and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou, had pinpointed the $1m The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on November 23 and the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) three weeks later as ideal targets.
But a rap from jockey Nash Rawiller after Bottega’s Randwick win in May got Ryan thinking a shot at the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on October 31 isn’t out of the question.
“When he went out they were the two races, the Gong and the Villiers, I had in the back of my mind,’’ Ryan said.
“It keeps ringing in my ear when Nash won the 1800m race on him at Randwick he came back and said ‘this horse could be a Golden Eagle horse, if he can improve a little bit’.
“I do believe the horse, from an autumn three-year-old to spring four-year-old, has made good improvement.”
Ryan will get some sort of guide on where his Golden Eagle prospects might stand when the gelding takes on boom four-year-old Masked Crusader in the Quayclean Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Masked Crusader is an $11 chance in TAB’s Golden Eagle market, with Bottega at $26, and you'd imagine he is also on trial for Rosehill's richest race.
Bottega showed he’s above average in the autumn with seconds in the Group 3 Carbine Club (1600m) and Group 2 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) before his deserved Randwick win.
He’s had the one trial back and that’s Ryan’s major concern heading into his resumption.
“He never got a good crack at them at the trials and perhaps I would have liked to see him have a harder trial,’’ Ryan said.
“He was back on the fence and they didn’t open up and Nash couldn’t extradite him off the fence and let him run to the line better.
“We had some niggling things with him through the prep last time, nothing serious, but this time we’ve had no problems.
"He’ll probably be midfield or a tad worse and if they get along up front he will be getting home.”
Ryan has thrown out a warning not to drop off Peltzer in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) after defeats in his two lead up runs.
Pelzter chased hard behind Anders in the San Domenico first-up then Ryan said he was far from disgraced behind the frenetic pace of the Run To The Rose (1200m), running fourth to Rothfire, and isn’t expecting the Rose to be as punishing.
Bottega's trial at Rosehill on September 15
“It’s a different tempo, you’d imagine it’d be a slower tempo at 1400m than what it was the other day,’’ he said.
“I thought his two runs have been good and I can’t believe people have jumped off him.
“A lot of people have not seen him in the mounting yard first-up or second-up because he had a lot of improvement to come.’’
Of course Ryan is no stranger to winning the Golden Rose with a horse coming off an unplaced run – in 2017 Trapeze Artist started $5 when fourth in the Stan Fox before demolishing the Group 1 field as a $41 chance, the longest priced winner of the race to date.
Peltzer, with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, was a $7.50 chance in TAB's Golden Rose market on Friday.