In the modern racing world, trainer Gerald Ryan is adamant that barrier draws can make or break a horse’s chances and he points to consistent galloper Lease as an example.
The colt has had two starts for Ryan and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou and has been forced to work overtime from wide gates but faces a different scenario in the Ranvet Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Ryan said the softer draw combined with the step up in distance presents Lease with his best chance to win a race this preparation.
“I reckon racing is so competitive now that barriers win races,’’ Ryan said.
“A classic example was last week at Randwick, if you drew inside five you had a huge advantage.
“He’s drawn well at last, I’ve only had him a short time of course but I’ve been happy with his two runs and he’s giving the impression he is going to appreciate 1500m.”
Lease, $6.50 with TAB on Thursday, hit the lead on the turn first-up on a heavy track at Randwick and was run down late by Moon Reader and Kanazawa while two weeks ago he did the chasing, after crossing from the outside, and weakened late behind Titanium Power.
“I thought the way he battled on the other day after doing work he raced like a horse that did need to step up in ground,’’ he said.
“He probably needed his first run, he drew wide and was three wide on the speed. At least from this draw he is going to get half a decent run in the race.”
The main change aside from the barrier draw heading into Saturday’s race is that Josh Parr replaces leading apprentice Tyler Schiller.
Parr has only been on board Lease once and guided him to his lone win at Wyong in September. Ryan said while giving up the claim is a negative, Lease will rise 4.5kg but also comes back a grade, he feels the three-year-old will respond to Parr’s riding.
“Josh won a maiden on him and he’s probably a horse that needs to be stood over a little bit,’’ Ryan said.
“By not using Tyler this week it makes it a bit harder in the sense he doesn’t get any weight relief. But he’s done well, I’ve been quite happy with the way he’s going, so he gets his chance to show us what he’s worth.”
Stayer Oceanic Flash is another the barrier gods have finally smiled over and Ryan feels he’ll get his chance to produce his best in the Fujitsu General Handicap (2400m).
His last win came over that trip on New Year’s Day but in his past three runs the four-year-old has found himself giving away big starts, and he could only manage ninth behind Born A King at Rosehill two weeks ago.
“He’s been a victim of bad gates and having to go back,’’ Ryan said.
“You couldn’t run on from back in the field the other day and he’s another that’s drawn a bit better.
“He won’t be as suited if we cop all that rain, he gets through it but he’s not a lover of it. Getting back to a mile and a half and getting down in weight, a better draw, he will get a chance to show if he has come back to form.”
Meanwhile, Ryan is considering the new $2m Five Diamonds (1800m) run on November 5 for Group 1 placed Ellsberg this spring.
The entire is scheduled to resume in mid-September and while Ryan said he has an open mind about his targets at this stage the new race restricted to five-year-olds holds some appeal.
“He’s back in pre-training up in Queensland. He’ll probably start off in the Theo Marks and we’ll decide after that,’’ he said.
“We might stretch him out to 1800m and aim him at the Five Diamonds.”
– Racing NSW