Gerald Ryan colt Ellsberg on song for debut at Warwick Farm
Gerald Ryan is eager to honour the memory of his former star colt Spill The Beans by winning the opener at Warwick Farm on Wednesday with the best-named horse in the stable, Ellsberg.
The debutant is named after Daniel Ellsberg, who played a pivotal role in the downfall of US President Richard Nixon by leaking the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times.
Ellsberg the horse is from the first crop of former Aquis resident stallion Spill The Beans, who won the Eskimo Prince Stakes, Hawkesbury Guineas and Group 2 ATC Cup at his final appearance.
Spill The Beans served three huge books of mares at stud resulting in 365 live foals but sadly passed away in November last year.
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Trainer Gerald Ryan will unleash Ellsberg at Warwick Farm on Wednesday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I reckon Spill The Beans could have won a Group 1 if he had raced on as a four-year-old,’’ Ryan said.
“Spill The Beans was a straight bay horse with black points. He wasn’t overly tall, whereas Ellsberg is a big solid horse and has got his colour from (his dam-sire) General Nediym. He is a dead ringer of a horse I had a few years ago called Spirit Of Tara.’’
Ellsberg was a narrow but authoritative winner of his first 900m trial at Rosehill on September 15 but was last of the eight in his next heat there 13 days later.
“He didn’t have horses around him in his first trial, he was always on the outside, so I just made him go back in behind them and get used to running up behind horses,’’ Ryan said.
Ryan and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou could end up dominating the TAB Long May We Play Handicap (1600m) when the in-form gelding Coterie is joined by his blue-blood stablemate Chains Of Honour.
Chains Of Honour, a Redoute’s Choice son of VRC Oaks winner Faint Perfume, was given a well-earned break after a taxing last campaign in which he competed in three states, including an ATC Derby and VRC St Leger in the space of three weeks.
“I reckon his two trials have been his best trials ever and he is showing a little bit more spark about him,’’ Ryan said.
“On his trials and on his work I reckon he is a better horse than he was last prep. He has come back at this time because we are aiming him at those Summer staying races because he can run a journey.’’
Spill The Beans could have won a Group 1 if he raced on as four-year-old, said trainer Gerald Ryan. Picture: Jenny EvansSource:News Corp Australia
Coterie is returning to the scene of his second-up win and subsequent to his fast-finishing third at Canterbury last Monday week.
“I don’t think I will go back to Canterbury with him because a couple of runs that he has had there, I just reckon the track is too tight for him,’’ Ryan said.
“I know he has won around Gosford and Wyong as a young horse but I just don’t think Canterbury is his track. He is better on bigger tracks.”
NO LUCK FOR WHITE TURF
The only luck of the draw when it comes to On The White Turf is bad luck.
The Richard and Michael Freedman-trained mare has drawn the outside barrier four times in 14 starts. On Wednesday at Warwick Farm it will be the fourth time she will walk in ‘one from the outside’.
Three times she’s had two horses outside her, including the day she charged past Kosciuskzo hopeful Two Big Fari at Newcastle.
“It is uncanny, it is a billion to one shot which is why I don’t believe the barrier draw algorithm actually works,’’ Richard Freedman said. “You go through it, you will be amazed and shocked.
“You only see her record where I have run her. There have probably been eight times where I have scratched her for drawing the outside gate. I scratched her last week when she drew 17.
Trainer Richard Freedman says On The White Turf is better than her form suggests. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“It makes it so hard for her every start. I think it has affected her record and it has affected her pattern.
“I can tell you this. She is a lot better than her record would suggest because she has had to do it so hard because of the number of outside gates she has drawn.’’
Kerrin McEvoy won a Melbourne Cup from barrier 22 of 22 so ‘9 of 10’ on Wednesday should be a doddle when he has his first ride on the mare.
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“Warwick Farm is probably one of the better courses to draw wide on because it is a straight run from the 1200m and you can sit three-deep with cover and not lose anything. Most other tracks, it is terrible,’’ Freedman said. “She will run on strongly I know that.’’
On The White Turf was bred and raised at Waikato Stud in New Zealand. She is a by the Farm’s six-times Champion NZ Sire, Savabeel.
On top of that and quite remarkably so, her first four dams are all daughters of Waikato Stud luminaries past and present namely Pins, O’Reilly, Centaine and Super Gray. That said, On The White Turf is not all ‘Kiwi’, her fifth dam is our home-grown champion Wenona Girl.
Originally published asWarwick Farm preview: Ryan spills the beans on Ellsberg
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