By Ray Hickson
In many people’s eyes Standout is having a TAB Everest audition at Randwick on Saturday but trainer Gerald Ryan just wants to see the smart sprinter back to his best.
If he wins the Group 2 $500,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Shorts (1100m) and earns himself a slot in the Everest then that’s fine with him.
It’s easy to forget Standout started his autumn campaign with a comprehensive win over Alizee at weight-for-age in the Expressway Stakes before things went awry, he only raced twice in the following two months and finished at the tail in the All Aged Stakes before a spell.
“He had a few genuine issues, he scoped badly a couple of times and had some niggling troubles and soft tracks,’’ Ryan said.
“Things didn’t fall into place after he won first-up. We’ll see where he sits on Saturday.
“He’s probably as fit as he can be first-up, he’s had two trials and a long slow prep. He appears to be going all right, he’s doing well in the feed bin and he’s working well.”
Standout is considered the main threat, by the TAB market at least, to Bivouac and Classique Legend in the Shorts at $5.50 yet he’s a $51 chance in the TAB Everest.
Standout runs second in a Rosehill trial on August 31
Ryan said the four-year-old has attracted some interest surrounding the $15m race.
“There’s been a couple of people I’ve spoken to about it, I said let’s get over Saturday first and they can do all their dealings with George (Altomonte, owner),’’ Ryan said.
“The main thing is to get him back to form in this race first-up. It’s been the plan from April, whatever happens after is a bonus.
“He gets a firm track underneath him, he’ll be hard to beat.’’
James McDonald, who rides Nature Strip in the Everest, has been snapped up by Ryan and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou, for the Shorts with Nash Rawiller, who partnered the horse in both trials, riding Eduardo.
Ryan expects McDonald to be able to make some use of a favourable gate and give Standout his chance.
“He’s drawn well, there’s good speed in the race. He’ll be midfield sitting off them,’’ he said.
“He just had two nice getting him fit trials, he’s a big nice strong horse now. Certainly at home he looks and works as if he is back to what he can do.”
Ryan elected to scratch In Lighten Me from Friday’s Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle in favour of the Tresemme Handicap (1400m) and while she’s a $41 chance he said she’s capable of surprising.
The mare ran ninth in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) at Wyong last start but had won two of her previous three this time in.
“I thought the race mapped better for her,’’ he said.
“There’s plenty of time to chase black type with her, she needs to win a couple more benchmark races before we start throwing away classes.
“In the Mona Lisa she should have finished closer. She got held up when she should have been going forward and I reckon she should have got beaten two lengths.”