Joe Pride Staring Down Barriers To Success

Barrier draws for big races don’t get much worse than those handed out to Joe Pride’s Golden Slipper day squad.

Pride will saddle up four Group 1 runners and all have come up with double-figure alleys, Ceolwulf faring best of them with gate 11 of 12 for the Rosehill Guineas (2000m).

Stable star Think About It has a horror George Ryder Stakes (1500m) draw in 17 of 19, while Private Eye (barrier 14) and Mazu (15) have drawn unfavourably in The Galaxy (1100m).

Pride admits the gates are deflating but says there is no point worrying about factors outside his control.

“The only thing that would stop me running Private Eye is a really wet track, other than that, all the Group One runners will go around at this stage,” Pride said.

“It’s just not what I wanted for them. We’re getting close to grand finals now.

“But you can get stressed out about your gates and all of a sudden, things start panning out for you on the day and the track’s playing OK, so there is no use sweating it.”

Pride is hoping that’s the case for Ceolwulf, who stretches to 2000m for the first time in the Rosehill Guineas following competitive runs in the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and Randwick Guineas (1600m).

The trainer doesn’t feel there is much between the classic three-year-olds, and race results support that theory.

Only 1-1/2 lengths separated the first nine horses across the line in the Randwick Guineas, and with the scratching of multiple group 1 winner Militarize on Wednesday, the race has opened up even further.

But that has only left Pride to lament Ceolwulf’s gate even more.

“These are an even bunch of horses and he’s going to have to be at his best to beat them, so I’m disappointed with that draw,” Pride said.

“It’s a tough one for him, and he’s a bloody good colt.”

While Militarize won’t line up in the three-year-old feature, he will be in action at Rosehill with connections opting to instead start the dual acceptor in the George Ryder Stakes, leaving Victoria Derby winner Riff Rocket as trainer Chris Waller’s No. 1 Guineas seed.

– RAS NewsWire

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