Ellsberg ready to set himself up for Brisbane campaign

Gerald Ryan says fitness levels won’t be an excuse when Ellsberg lines up in the Blacktown Workers Hawkesbury Guineas on Saturday.

A Brisbane campaign is in Ellsberg’s sights after the talented three-year-old tackles the 200,000 Group 3 Blacktown Workers Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on Saturday.

The Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained colt is three wins from six starts and is being served up as the $2 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds following his first-up demolition in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.

“The horse is very well, he’s done really good,” Ryan said.

“He was trained right up for the first-up run so you’re not going to see a stack of improvement on Saturday but I think he’s held his own and that should have him thereabouts.

“He’ll go to Queensland after Saturday, it’s just a matter of working out whether we keep him sprinting and look to the Stradbroke or stretch out to the mile, there’s a couple of nice races against the older horses at weight-for-age.

“If we keep him to the sprint trips he might have another run down here before going north or he’d go to the Fred Best.”

Ryan also revealed an adjustment in the ownership of the son of Spill The Beans will see Ellsberg race in new colours on Saturday.

“We got offered some money to sell the horse to Hong Kong, Aquis wanted to sell but the other owners didn’t so they bought Aquis out,” Ryan said.

“They want two-year-old stallions and this horse didn’t win at two so I understand where they are coming from.”

Meanwhile, the stable will saddle up another runner at the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting – Steely which contests the Blake’s Marine Benchmark 78 Handicap (1500m).

The four-year-od son of All Too Hard goes into this weekend’s assignment off the back of a brave last start win in Benchmark 68 grade at Kembla.

“Steely is going well,” Ryan said. “He’s a progressive horse and it’s a nice race to test him out in Saturday grade.

“When you dig into his form he has it around some smart ones – horses like Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga.

“He’ll run well, always does.”

Steely will be ridden by Josh Parr and is a $6.50 chance while Tim Clark continues his association with Ellsberg.

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