Horror Metropolitan draw for Ready To Lift
Gerald Ryan’s hopes for Ready To Lift in the Group One Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick have been dealt a crushing blow after the mare’s horror barrier draw.
The last-start Kingston Town Stakes winner has gate 17 in the field of 18 on Saturday and Ryan says it has all but put paid to her chances.
"It makes it nearly impossible for her to win," Ryan said.
Ryan bypassed last Saturday’s Colin Stephen Quality with Ready To Lift after she received too much weight.
The decision forced her spring program to be reshuffled and while the Melbourne Cup has always been her main goal, Ready To Lift will now head there via the Caulfield Cup rather than the Moonee Valley Cup as originally planned.
"But she has got to run well on Saturday first," Ryan said.
Ready To Lift has posted three wins over the 2400 metres of the Metropolitan and each time she has settled midfield or better before finishing powerfully to score.
But from barrier 17 on Saturday, Ryan says jockey Glyn Schofield will have limited options.
"If we come out and try to settle midfield from there she will end up four wide," Ryan said.
Weights for the Metropolitan were raised a kilo when the original topweights were not paid up for, leaving dual Group One winner Fiumicino as the number one saddlecloth holder with 57kg.
Last year’s winner Newport was a surprise acceptor and has followed the same path into the race as 12 months ago when he failed to beat a runner home in the George Main Stakes (1600m) before backing up to post an upset win in the Metropolitan seven days later.
He finished seventh to Road To Rock in the George Main last Saturday, one position in front of Queensland Cup winner Cape Breton.
Cups hopeful Cape Breton is an acceptor for both the Metropolitan and the Craven Plate (2000m) and trainer Danny Williams is still deliberating on the best option.
"He will work in the morning and we will make a decision after that," Williams said.
"It was always our intention to have him ready for the Metropolitan but for one reason or another he came along a bit slower than we planned in Queensland and it put us back a bit further than we ultimately wanted.
"I would have hoped to have one more run under his belt for the Metropolitan.
"We’ll weigh up our options and see how he pulls up from his work in the morning."
Making Williams’ decision harder is the fact Cape Breton has drawn well in both races with barrier three in the Craven Plate and one in the Metropolitan.
Kathy O’Hara will ride him in whichever race he contests.
By Mandy Cottell