Australia’s weight-for-age champion Anamoe displayed brilliance and courage in equal amounts to survive a torrid run and claim Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
This season’s Cox Plate champion raced no closer than three wide throughout from the outside barrier in the 11-horse field.
James McDonald was forced to sit and suffer aboard Anamoe ($1.80 favourite) and ask Godolphin’s most prolific Group 1 winner to make his bid for victory widest of all from the 600m mark.
Anamoe sustained his effort, gathering in Converge ($41) inside the final 150m and then withstood the late surging effort of Fangirl ($9) who again had to settle for second behind Anamoe.
Converge ran third ahead of this month’s G1 Canterbury Stakes winner Artorius ($6), while Levante ($15) and Communist ($21) ensured the first six placegetters across the line – all previous G1 winners – finished within a length of Anamoe.
“It worked out well the first two furlongs, I had a nice little bit of cover, but it disappeared,” McDonald told SKY Thoroughbred Central.
“I would’ve loved a better trip in transit. But I wanted to ride him like the good horse that he is and not get far back because the only way I thought he would get beat was coming too late.
“He travelled deep throughout; the track has probably helped us on the softer side and they have been coming down the middle.
“It was a different sort of win, wasn’t it? He didn’t have the perfect barrier; he didn’t have the perfect set-up. He had to overcome a wide run, but he’s good enough to do it and he’s taken that next step all the time.”
Trainer James Cummings indicated the George Ryder Stakes provided Anamoe with the perfect preparation ahead of his Australian swansong in the $5m G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 8.
“He’s had that tough run now at the 1500m, which is a race we deliberately kept him a little bit sharper for,” Cummings said.
“But now he can step up to a mile and a quarter and look great in three weeks when we step him up in distance.”
Anamoe firmed from $2.30 into even-money favourite for the Queen Elizabeth, while Saturday’s 4.5-length G1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) winner Dubai Honour firmed from $5 into $3 second elect as the only other runner at single-figure odds.