Stable shooting for Gold with Facile

Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou could have up to eight runners at Hawkesbury.

FACILE winning the CHINA HORSE CLUB P J BELL STAKES at Randwick in Australia.
FACILE winning the CHINA HORSE CLUB P J BELL STAKES at Randwick in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

After four black-type placings, Facile finally broke through for her first stakes success during the Sydney autumn carnival and connections are upbeat she can go on with the job.

The filly will line up in the Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m) on Saturday and while the trainers of several rivals will be keeping a close eye on the weather, Facile's conditioners Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou don't have that stress.

Twice placed in Listed company on good tracks, Facile showed her versatility with a last start win in the P J Bell Stakes (1200m) on heavy ground at Randwick.

"A few of our other runners are going to be hit and miss if we get good rain," co trainer Alexiou said.

"But she races well on firm tracks and as her last win would suggest, on heavy tracks.

"I actually think she has improved since that win. She has been in work a long time, but she has really strengthened up since her last run.

"She is really well muscled and in a good frame of mind for Saturday."

Ryan and Alexiou could have up to eight runners at the stand-alone Hawkesbury meeting and if fourth emergency Williamsburg can gain a start in the Cup (1600m), the stable will be represented in all four stakes races.

Banana Queen is scheduled to resume in the Group 3 Hawksbury Crown (1300m), although her appearance will be weather dependent as her best form is on good to soft surfaces.

The mare has been nominated for the upcoming Chairman's Sale but if she does run on Saturday, Alexiou expects a bold performance.

"She is going really well. If it was a good track on Saturday, we would be really confident of a strong showing from her," he said.

Khumbila is also doubtful for the Guineas (1400m) if track conditions deteriorate, although stablemate General Salute will take his place regardless.

The latter was gelded prior to his current campaign, which he kicked off with a solid sixth in the Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) when making late ground.

He then missed a scheduled start at Randwick on All Aged Stakes day when the final two races were abandoned, much to the dismay of connections.

"I was really looking forward to getting him to the races the other day from a good draw and they were called off," Alexiou said.

"Now we're dealt barrier 15 again. He hasn't had a lot of luck with barriers in races he has been ready for.

"But if it ends up heavy, 15 could be a good barrier."

Wet track specialist Williamsburg could also be a knockout chance if he gains a start in the Cup.

The four-year-old was coming off a month-long break between runs when midfield behind Mighty Ulysses in Brisbane last weekend and his four career wins have been on rain-affected tracks.