Rosehill trainers in two-pronged Festival Stakes assault

Gerald Ryan is hoping to use Sydney’s compressed summer carnival timetable to his advantage when he runs Williamsburg and Grebeni in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill.

A traditional lead-up to the $2 million The Ingham (1600m), the Festival Stakes (1400m) is usually held two weeks prior but will fall just seven days out this year.

Ryan is banking on that making it a less attractive option for many trainers and he is out to capitalise with two runners.

“That’s what I’m thinking, I don’t think it’s going to be as strong a race,” Ryan said.

“They’re usually two weeks apart but both horses would have missed out on a run in The Gong (on Saturday), that’s why I didn’t even bother entering Grebeni because I knew what was going there and that he wouldn’t get a run.

“Williamsburg will be ridden by Tyler Schiller and Grebeni will be Kerrin Mcevoy.”

Twice Group 1 placed, Williamsburg hasn’t been beaten far in any of his five runs this campaign, his worst result coming last start in the Damien Oliver at Flemington.

The four-year-old was jagged back from a wide gate and didn’t get much room in the early part of the straight, finishing 3-3/4 lengths from the winner Cause For Concern.

Ryan is adamant the horse is in good order and can atone without surprising, particularly if the track is rain-affected.

“He went to Melbourne and ran in the 1400 metre race on Derby Day. He drew wide, got pushed into the fence and basically never got off the fence again,” Ryan said.

“He is going terrific. He’s working well, he looks good, he is just not having any joy in his races.”

Grebeni will be third-up after making a sound return in the Silver Eagle (1300m) before taking out the Goulburn Cup (1400m) last start.

He also enjoys wet tracks and should get in well at the weights.

“He’s only had the two runs back and his run in the Silver Eagle was very passable, he ran tenth and it was a good run, then he won the Goulburn Cup,” Ryan said.

“It’s a test but he’ll have no weight on his back and he can run off really good sectionals.”

Both Williamsburg and Grebeni are in line to back up in The Ingham seven days later if they perform at Rosehill.

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