Adnocon strides to victory in last year’s Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes.
Adnocon strides to victory in last year’s Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes. David Nielsen

Hat-trick bid

HE'S well aware of the enormity of the challenge but trainer Gerald Ryan is confident his gelding Adnocon can win his third successive Eye Liner Stakes today.

Pittance became the first horse to win the Eye Liner three years in a row in 2002 for trainer John Morrisey.

He was piloted to victory by jockey Larry Cassidy in 2000, Gavan Duffy in 2001 and Danny Nikolic in 2002.

As he did successfully last year, Ryan has set Adnocon for the $175,000 City of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) first up from a spell.

Ryan said parallels in other key areas augur well for Adnocon's chances of a triple victory.

"He's come up well, he's going well, it's a hard thing to do to win it three years in a row but he's a good horse fresh," Ryan said.

"It's about his right journey and he's on par with where he was last year.

"He's got the same program as last year; he's first-up into it, he'd had two trials at Rosehill and then went up and won. I've done the same thing with him this year."

He said the plan since January had been to try and win it again for owners including bookmaker Hayden Flynn and racecaller David Fowler.

"I spelled him after the Magic Millions and brought him back when it was time to get him ready for it and he's had two trials leading into it," he said. "I'm happy with the horse. We're giving it our best shot.

"I'm confident the horse will run well. He's bright and well in himself so I'm confident he'll run well.

"I think the field he beat the first year is stronger than this year. But he did have 53.5 kilos that year. This year he's got 58. Weight always comes into it in a pressure race like that."

When Adnocon secured the Eye Liner in 2010, he had won two races - at Canterbury and the Sunshine Coast - before running at Ipswich.

He broke the course record in scoring a one-and-a-quarter length win that day.

Jockey Paul Hammersley put Adnocon in an ideal position from barrier three and said the result was never in doubt.

Last year, Damian Browne picked up the ride after Glenn Colless was suspended and made the most of his chances, driving Adnocon to a hard-fought win.

In a tight finish, Adnocon outlasted favourite Gundy Son, with Drenalin third.

Browne has retained the ride today and will jump Adnocon from barrier 10 if emergency Dusty Gold doesn't get a run.

"He won from barrier 12 last year," Ryan said.

"He's a big-striding horse and I think he appreciates drawing out a bit so he doesn't get cluttered up on the fence."

Ryan nominated Kelso Wood's gelding Belltone, to be ridden by Chris Munce, as the hardest to beat in today's Eye Liner.

Wood is on top of the world as a trainer, winning his second Group 1 last week with boom two-year- old Sizzling in the TJ Smith Stakes.

Six-year-old Belltone drew barrier eight and, with 56kg and the services of in-form and classy jockey Munce, he is favourite for the Eye Liner.

Belltone was runner-up last start in the QTC Cup on a heavy track at Eagle Farm and should appreciate a firmer surface today.

Wood has never won an Eye Liner Stakes but he won the Ipswich Cup in 2002 with Awesome Weather.

 

ESSENTIAL GUIDE

Make sure you grab the QT's handy 12-page Ipswich Cup liftout inside today before heading to Bundamba.



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