Change of plans for Ayrton
Ayrton is to be paid up as a late entry into the A$1.5 million Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm after disappointing in the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) when eighth.
Trainer Mick Price said on Monday that a combination of factors, including the dire weather forecast, had forced a revision of his winter plans with connections opting to redirect the four-year-old to the 1400m feature rather than go up in distance in the Gr.1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
‘’I’ve have had a think about where to go with Ayrton and given the predicted wet weather and his failure to handle the wet ground, we are going to run in the Stradbroke on a late nomination,’’ Price told Racing.com.
‘’Eagle Farm, getting to the bigger track – it’s either that or the paddock because I couldn’t preserve with him with this wet weather that coming.
‘’His 1400m form is OK. He’ll need to be a closer in the Stradbroke, but he’s won there and the owners (Roll The Dice) are accepting of the Stradbroke plan so that’s what we’ll do.
Ramsden test for Through Irish Eyes
Progressive stayer Through Irish Eyes is likely to be the only runner of the in-form Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable in the Melbourne Cup qualifier at Flemington.
The Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington on Saturday is restricted to three, four and five-year-olds and offers the winner a 'Golden Ticket' into the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
Eustace said he likes the idea of the race and giving up-and-coming stayers the chance to gain a place in the Melbourne Cup but would also like to see the race opened up to six-year-olds.
"It works, but I don't think it should be is restricted to three, four and five-year-olds," Eustace said.
"There's plenty of good six-year-olds and I don't think being six stops you from being a good stayer."
Through Irish Eyes is a four-year-old son of Tavistock and is coming off a last start second over 2400m at Caulfield on April 16 where he beat home Thursday's Warrnambool Cup winner Witchachar Star.
Eustace said if it wasn't for the money, which offers the winner A$300,000 and the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption, Through Irish Eyes would continue racing through the grades.
"He's still quite a raw horse. He looks like a three-year-old now and he's four and he is probably going to come into his own when he's five or six,” Eustace said.
"It would suit him if he won the race as he could then have a breather. It wouldn't be a long one, but he wouldn't need a lot of racing to get back up to full fitness.
"He's a natural staying horse, a progressive stayer that likes Flemington and we would like it dry."
Raced by a group that includes former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and fellow Kiwi’s Peter Kean and Patrick Harrison, Through Irish Eyes was bred by well-known Australian breeder and owner Jonathan Munz under his GSA Bloodstock banner.
He was a $150,000 purchase by former trainer Darren Weir out of the Henley Park draft during the Book 1 sale at Karaka in 2019.
Through Irish Eyes is out of Group Three-winning Zabeel mare Zapurple.