Connections of impressive gelding Ayrton hope a return to a dry surface will see the four-year-old gelding back to his best in Saturday’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
The Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr-trained son of Iffraaj failed to fire a shot in the Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast early last month, finishing in eighth position almost 13 lengths behind winner Zaaki over 1800 metres.
“On that day (the Hollindale Stakes) he just didn’t handle the wet track at all, so we decided to change plans and head towards the Stradbroke,” Rob Norton of Roll the Dice Racing said.
Norton had previously said the door was left open when it came to Ayrton’s movements following the Hollindale, but the weather conditions left the Stradbroke as the most suitable path.
With conditions finally improving in Queensland, the forecast is looking favourable for Ayrton in his Stradbroke tilt with little rain predicted in Brisbane this week.
“It will definitely be dry, we might not need the beanies, we might leave the beanies and have the board shorts, so it should be fun,” Norton said.
“He’s really good. He trialled (last Tuesday) at the Sunshine Coast, he finished second, that’s the first piece of work he’s had since the Hollindale (Stakes).”
Twice a Group 3 winner, Ayrton will be looking to break through in his first crack at the elite level and will seemingly have plenty of support to cheer him on trackside.
“There’s going to be a lot of people go up on Thursday, everyone’s thrilled to have a runner in a Group 1, and we’re thrilled to have him in it,” Norton said.
Ayrton is the $6 favourite with Jamie Kah booked to ride.