Gerald Ryan holds the aces with three key runners in The Rosebud and says track conditions will be fundamental to which of them can win.
The trainer will start Return With Honour, Kumasi and The Face, the trio among the top five horses in betting for Saturday’s Listed 1100m feature.
Ryan can make a case for each of them but says the Rosehill surface will determine who comes out on top.
“Dry track, I would say Return With Honour, soft track I would say Kumasi, heavy track, The Face,” Ryan said.
Golden Rose hopeful Return With Honour is held in high esteem by the stable and was hampered by wet tracks and bad luck in the autumn.
Ryan has had his share of quality colts and compares Return With Honour favourably to one of his former stars.
“He reminds me of Hinchinbrook in his stature. Hinchinbrook was by Fastnet Rock out of Snitzel’s mother and this horse is just built the same way,” Ryan said.
Kumasi likewise showed promise as a juvenile with a debut win and a stakes placing at his only other start.
Owners Aquis Farm have been patient with the colt and hope that approach will be repaid this spring.
“On pedigree, on type and the way he appeals to jockeys, he will be better over 1400 metres but at this stage of his preparation, 1100 should be right for him,” Ryan said.
The Face is the least experienced of the three but has the benefit of recent racing.
A dominant winner at Gosford last month despite shying when he hit the front, he has shown Ryan enough to throw him in the deep end.
“He’s got good ability. I haven’t really got to the bottom of him,” Ryan said.
“It might be overstepping the mark with him on Saturday but I just thought, with the (rain) forecast, two trials under his belt, one race under his belt, he’s got a fitness edge on the other two and the other two are going to be giving him a start.”
Kumasi opened favourite for The Rosebud but has been deposed by Anders from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable.