In an ideal world co-trainer Sterling Alexiou would like Saturday’s Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) to be something of a staying test to give Williamsburg his chance to shine.
The colt has been steadily building with three runs back and while Alexiou was a shade disappointed with his last start fifth behind Communist in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) he’s convinced the extra distance is what he’s looking for.
Williamsburg, $10 with TAB on Friday, has raced once at 2000m for a fifth, as a $6.50 chance, in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes back in October where he hit the front on the home turn on a heavy track before weakening.
“His run in the Spring Champion was forgivable,’’ Alexiou, who co-trains with Gerald Ryan, said.
“He got left in front a long way out in that race and I thought he boxed on well.
“He’s not the sort of horse you want to be winning a race on in the first 100m, he’s a horse that likes to win his races in the last 100m.
“He likes a bit of a bunny and hopefully we see a bit of speed in the race.”
Feedback from jockey Ryan Maloney told Alexiou that the tempo of the Randwick Guineas was against Williamsburg but he still ran the third fastest last 600m (35.11, Punter’s Intelligence) of the race.
“He just got over racing the other day midrace when the speed came out and it left him a little flat footed,’’ Alexiou said.
“Personally I would have liked to see more from him the last 100m but Ryan was adamant that when the speed came out it took away from his finish.
“We’ve topped him up with a bit of work in between and hopefully with a truer run race we’ll see the best of him.”
A late decision was made to back up stablemate Brosnan in the Rosehill Guineas after he hit the line strongly into third behind Zougotcha in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) last weekend.
The grey has been running on at the end of his races all campaign to date and Alexiou said he’s ready to be tested out in distance.
“It wasn’t in our initial plans or thoughts but he’s pulled up after that run on Saturday well and we thought it was worth a throw at the stumps,’’ he said.
Alexiou is expecting Sky Command to bounce back in the Group 3 $200,000 TAB Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) after failing as favourite when resuming in the Wenona Girl two weeks ago.
He said the mare, $10 with TAB on Friday, is a horse that needs to find the rail in running and that will be the aim at Rosehill.
“Her only two disappointing tuns for us she’s settled outside the leader turning for home so whether there’s anything to read into that,’’ he said.
“She came through that race well, we did expect a lot more from her the other day and she failed o show that.
“Hopefully she can bounce back to what she was showing last prep because when she hit form she really held it and didn’t disappoint us once.”
– Racing NSW