Expressway Stakes field reduced to six

Trapeze Artist wins at Canberra
Trapeze Artist gallops to victory in the Black Opal Stakes at Canberra. (Bradley Photos)

Trapeze Artist is not the best looking horse in Gerald Ryan’s stable nor is he the most exciting track worker.

But the colt does hold sway as the Group One winner of the Golden Rose and punters are warming to him ahead of Saturday’s Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.

Trapeze Artist has been at long odds in all three of his wins including his Group One triumph in September when he started at $41.

But by Friday he had been backed into $4 with fellow three-year-old Addictive Nature also firming from $3.50 to $3.20 with Global Glamour the $2,90 favourite.

He showed his readiness for racing with a barrier trial win at Rosehill on January 22, a result largely overlooked by the presence of Winx and Redzel in the heat.

“He’s not the easiest horse to judge on his trackwork but he has had a trouble-free week,” Ryan said.

“He eats his feet and enjoys his life. He’s fit enough if he’s good enough.”

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The Expressway field was reduced to six on Friday with the scratchings of the Greg Hickman-trained Top Striker and Addictive Nature’s Bjorn Baker-trained stablemate Goodfella.

Four of the six runners in the weight-for-age sprint – Trapeze Artist, Victoria Derby winner Ace High, Group Two winner Showtime and Addictive Nature – are three-year-olds.

All four are likely to follow a similar autumn path to the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and Randwick Guineas (1600m).

Ace High’s trainer David Payne will keep the colt going up in distance to the 2000 metres of the Rosehill Guineas before deciding whether to target the Australian Derby (2400m) or the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).

Ryan has other plans for Trapeze Artist.

“If he comes through the program well then I think the All Aged Stakes over 1400 metres against the older horses could be the race for him,” he said.

With numbers on their side, one of the three-year-olds looks likely to become the first of their age group to win the Expressway since Happy Galaxy in 2013.