Jockey Shaun McGruddy is concerned a wide barrier draw has hindered the winning chances of Red Can Man in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
McGruddy is still hopeful of a bold showing from Red Can Man, but is lamenting a similar draw that brought about his undoing in the Black Heart Bart Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago.
The talented four-year-old boxed on gamely for fourth behind Stageman but faded after doing work to cross from barrier nine and position outside of the leader Flower Of War.
McGruddy has no doubt Red Can Man, a winner of the Fairetha Stakes (1400m) and Bolton Sprint (1200m), has a bright future ahead of him, but says he faces a tough task in the Northerly.
“It’s a bit demoralising or heartbreaking if that’s the word,” McGruddy said on Tabradio.
“He found it tough the other day (Black Heart Bart Stakes) in this sort of grade to get across from where he did.
“He had horses like Free Trade and Vital Silver pressing up and making it hard for him and those same horses are in the race again and drawn inside of him.
“It’s pretty hard and what people tend to forget is he drew barrier two when he beat Jericho Missile in the Fairetha and when he won the Bolton, he drew barrier one beating Lockroy.
“This is going to be a lot stronger opposition and he has drawn wide so it’s not going to be easy, but he is obviously an exciting horse and I wouldn’t want to be on another one in the race, that’s for sure.
“I’ve been down to Albany to work him a couple of times and I actually think he still has some growing to do still.
“I think he will be even better in the autumn, but unfortunately these one million-dollar races are not in the autumn, so we will have to do our best.
“I think going forward barriers are going to be important for him with his racing style.”
Red Can Man has won seven races with four minor placings and has not finished further back than fourth from 13 starts.
Trained by Steve Wolfe, the son of Gingerbread Man has been entered for the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in November and December respectively.
He is rated a $7.50 chance in the Northerly Stakes.
McGruddy is a lot more optimistic about Condor Heroes for co-trainers Chris and Michael Gangemi in the Crown Towers Handicap (1000m).
The former Sydney galloper has won two of three races since arriving in Perth with his only blemish a last-start second to Long Beach three weeks back.
“He has been a bargain buy and has done nothing wrong here,” McGruddy said.
“He is obviously an exciting horse as well.”
Condor Heroes is the $3.80 second favourite behind Battle Storm $3.50.