Washington reaches new Heights in 2017 Shannon Stakes

Tom Walter - Saturday September 23

The Gerald Ryan-trained Washington Heights quashed any doubts about his ability beyond 1400m with a blistering win in the Group II Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Washington Heights produces an electric turn of foot to win the Shannon Stakes at Rosehill Photo: Steve Hart

Washington Heights ($4.80) was an easing second favourite with bookmakers, having never won past seven furlongs, but Ryan was adamant the distance wouldn't be an issue for the gelding and the Rosehill trainer was proven right in the most emphatic of ways.

Travelling last around the home corner, Washington Heights moved up ominously on the outside of the field and surged to victory, defeating Fred Cowell's Mighty Lucky ($41) by half a length. There was another 2-1/4 lengths back to the third-placed Imposing Lass ($7.50) for Bjorn Baker.

"He's had his issues and there were doubts about him running 1500m but I had no doubts about him," Ryan said.

The win extended Kerrin McEvoy's flawless record on the son of Commands to three wins from three starts.

"He settled a long way off them there today but he picked them up really stylishly," McEvoy said.

"It's nice to be on the back of a horse that has got as many gears as this guy has got."

As the winner of the Shannon Stakes is granted an automatic start in next Saturday's $1 million Group I Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick, Ryan faces a pleasant dilemma with the seven-year-old.

"The plan was to have four runs this preparation and then see, I am not going to make a raceday decision on him," Ryan said.

"I don't want to take him to Melbourne, the tracks are too hard. I just want to stay here and give him a break and get him ready for the autumn or if he does pull up well think about backing him up."

Should Washington Heights take his place in Randwick's feature mile, he will carry a featherweight of 50.5kg.

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