Ryan Confident Cup Take Two’s Not Heavy Work For Williamsburg

Trainer Gerald Ryan believes take two of the Listed $200,000 Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday gives mudlark Williamsburg an even better chance of breaking a run of outs than he had a week ago.

Trainer Gerald Ryan

The certainty of a heavy track combined with a slightly more favourable barrier set up has Ryan quietly confident, if he finds the right spot in the race, the four-year-old can post his first win since he ploughed through a heavy surface to win the Dulcify at Randwick in October 2022.

In the interim he’s had five shots at Group 1 level and largely raced in top company but Ryan, who co-trains with Sterling Alexiou, said since the bar has lowered he’s regained his form.

“It’s a long time between drinks but in saying that he’s run in a lot of races he probably couldn’t win,’’ he said.

“When he comes back a grade from that he’s very consistent.”

Williamsburg, $5.50 with TAB on Friday, has raced nine times on heavy ground for three wins and four placings, the latest of those a narrow defeat in The Coast run at Newcastle last month.

As a two-year-old he won the Group 3 Baillieu and Listed Fernhill Stakes on a heavy 10 and ran third in She’s Extreme’s Group 1 Champagne Stakes.

It’s the first time the entire has tackled 2000m since he was three and was a shade unlucky behind Ospikenko and Pericles in the Frank Packer Plate last year.

“He’s had three goes at 2000m. He ran fifth in the Spring Champion Stakes, he ran third in the Rosehill Guineas, and he ran third in the Frank Packer Plate where arguably Nash Rawiller outsmarted Joao Moriera and kept him in a pocket,’’ Ryan said.

“I’ve got no doubts about him running 2000m properly.

“You’d still like to see him ridden quieter. You look back through his replays and his best runs are when he’s ridden off the speed.”

That wasn’t the case in his last start second behind Iknowastar where he was forced to chase the bold front-runner over the Randwick mile on a soft 5.

“He stuck on well with the 60kg on his back and he was chasing a long way from home,’’ he said.

“He stuck to his guns and he drops 6kg this week.”

In the week’s layover Ryan said Williamsburg was given a rousing track gallop aimed at restoring something of a killer instinct and he hopes that transfers to a win.

It would be fair to say nothing has gone to plan with promising filly It’s A Wonder in recent weeks but she finally gets her chance to race in the Foundation Female Member Handicap (1600m).

The three-year-old was being aimed at a race during the Brisbane carnival but circumstances have conspired to keep her away from the track since her third placing in the Wagga Guineas on May 3.

“She’s been balloted out, races called off, bad barriers,’’ Ryan said.

“We missed out getting up north, the plan was to run last week then go to the mile and a quarter tomorrow.”

Despite the stop-start preparation, Ryan said It’s A Wonder has plenty of ability and with 52kg and confidence in heavy ground it’s not beyond her to reward her owners’ patience with a win.

“It’s not ideal running against the older mares but she’s got no weight on her back, Jay Ford knows her, it’s a nice big track and she handles the ground,’’ he said.

“She’s got a few things going for her this week.”

– Racing NSW

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