Wet track doubt on Standout in TJ Smith

By: Mandy Cottell Thursday 2 April 2020

Gerald Ryan is keeping a close eye on the weather and will scratch Standout from the Group One TJ Smith Stakes if Randwick is rain-affected.

An outstanding winner over older horses first-up, Standout appeared to be travelling strongly in the Canterbury Stakes but as soon as he came off the bridle, he floundered in the wet ground.

Ryan performed all the usual checks and balances to ensure the three-year-old was healthy and came to the conclusion he simply did not like the conditions.

"We had chiropractors, we had vets, we had bloods done. Everyone went over him and there were no dramas with anything," Ryan said.

"It was only the soft track, as soon as he let him down he struggled.

"He's trialled since and (jockey) James McDonald said the same thing, even though he won his trial he wasn't handling the ground."

Randwick was a soft 5 on Thursday and Ryan said that rating had to improve further for Standout to take his place in Saturday's TJ Smith (1200m).

Nash Rawiller has the ride with regular partner Tommy Berry sticking by Pierata.

"He won't go if it is rain-affected at all," Ryan said.

The TJ Smith has attracted an outstanding field with nine of the 13 runners Group One winners.

They include dual Everest winner Redzel, flying frontrunner Nature Strip and last year's T J Smith winner Santa Ana Lane.

Standout is one of four three-year-olds lining up in Saturday's renewal and Ryan has no illusions about the task he faces.

The Ryan-trained Trapeze Artist won it as a three-year-old two years ago but was more seasoned.

"It's a very good race. It is as good a sprint race as you would see anywhere," Ryan said.

"Trapeze Artist did a huge job, this horse is still to do it. Trapeze Artist had won an Expressway, which this horse did, but he'd won a Golden Rose and was coming off a third in the Australian Guineas. It's hard to compare them.

"But he worked very well on Tuesday morning so I'm happy with him."

Anthony Cummings has confirmed Vegadaze will back-up from his Group Three win at Rosehill.

Cummings was going to aim Vegadaze towards softer targets but had a change of heart given the $1.25 million purse on offer and uncertainty over whether racing can continue if the coronavirus crisis worsens.

"The reality is, I'm looking at the race he was going towards in a couple of weeks time and I can run fourth in this race and get the same money," Cummings said.

"He's had a really good week, he looks nice and bright and he will go into the race in good shape and be hard to beat."