Gerald Ryan Excited by Peggy Jean’s Return

By Caryl Williamson
Racing and Sports

Trainer Gerald Ryan is looking forward to the three-year-old season of Group One winner Peggy Jean starting with the Furious Stakes.

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Peggy Jean works ahead of her return. Photo: Racing and Sports

The form lines of the early season three-year-old races have boosted trainer Gerald Ryan’s confidence ahead of Peggy Jean’s return. Fillies dominated last season’s juvenile ranks, winning four of the five Group One races open to their age group.

Peggy Jean’s ATC Sires’ Produce win puts her in the elite group and she will clash with another star, Blue Diamond Stakes winner Earthquake, in the Furious Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

“They have never raced against each other,” Ryan said.

“I’m very happy with Peggy Jean and looking at the three-year-old races that have already been run, I think my fillies stack up.

“Ygritte was very good in the Run To The Rose and she has only won one race.”

The only filly in Saturday’s Group Three Run To The Rose, Ygritte was also the only horse among the on-pace runners to maintain her position on the wet track. Hallowed Jewel won the race from Kumaon with high profile colts Sarajevo, Scratch Me Lucky, Nostradamus, and Almalad all behind Ygritte.

Scratch Me Lucky finished second to Peggy Jean in the Sires’ Produce while Almalad was the lone colt to win a Group One last season, taking out the J J Atkins in Brisbane.

Ryan was one of the most successful trainers of two-year-olds in 2013/14 but Rubick, the colt he hoped would be the flag bearer, came up short when fourth in the Blue Diamond. His spring preparation was interrupted by a mild virus but he returned to Ryan’s Rosehill stable on Friday in good order.

“He looks terrific. It was only a minor thing,” Ryan said.

“It just means we have had to change his early program but the Coolmore Stud Stakes at the end of the carnival has always been his target.

“He had 12 days in the paddock followed by eight days on the water walker so the fitness is there.

“I’m not sure yet whether we start him off in Sydney or Melbourne.”

Peggy Jean will be aimed at the Flight Stakes while Ygritte is in the mix for the $1 million Golden Rose on September 13.

Ryan could have three runners with Washington Heights to back up if he runs well in Saturday’s Ming Dynasty at Randwick and Bachman to go into the race at his first start for the new season.