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  • John Curtis


THURSDAY: November 18, 2021: FATE often works in strange ways!

Hawkesbury trainer Blake Ryan clinched a home track breakthrough today with a promising young horse he acknowledges is fortunate to have in his stable.

Critical Time ($1.90 favorite) took the Blacktown Workers Club Group Maiden Plate (1300m) at only his second start – and his trainer already is looking well ahead.

“Critical Time was purchased by Chinese-based Zhongli Thoroughbreds, and I got him after he was passed in at the Inglis Ready2Race sale 12 months ago,” Ryan said this evening.

“Zhongli had about 20 early two-year-olds for that sale, and the three I prepared for them all were sold.

“When I decided to begin training on my own earlier this year, they gave Critical Time to me.

“The plan was to get him ready to trial and sell him to Hong Kong.

“He won his three trials, but the sale to Hong Kong fell through when he didn’t pass their stringent vet examinations.

“So he stayed with me, and I’m glad he did.

“I feel that with maturity he is going to develop into a really nice horse and get up to 1600m.”

Critical Time hit the line strongly off a decent pace set by first starter and eventual third placegetter, Jason and Lucy Attard’s Brent Street ($10), and beat another first starter Stella Glow ($21).

Winning rider Josh Parr told Ryan afterwards that in spite of the Shalaa colt’s victory, he didn’t feel he hit top speed because of the firmness of the track.

Ryan, who notched the fourth winner of his fledgling career after scoring with his first runner Divine Future at Orange in February, considers Critical Time is a potential Provincial Championships contender.

But not next autumn.

“Critical Time was very backward when he came to me, and I’ve taken baby steps with him,” Ryan said.

“If he pulls up okay, I will probably give him one more run to help him gain more experience and then turn him out.

“Provided he continues to mature and improve as I feel he will, the 2023 Provincial Championships will be our aim.”

. Josh Parr’s success on Critical Time was the first leg of a double which lifted him to the top of the Hawkesbury premiership table.

Parr also won the closer, the HRC Motel Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1300m), on Deficit ($8.50) for co-trainers Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou.

He has now ridden winners this season, one ahead of brother-in-law Tim Clark.

Melbourne Cup winning jockey James McDonald and The Hunter winning trainer John O’Shea combined for a double with Don Arcangelo ($4.40) and the promising This’llbetheone ($1.70 favorite).

The latter is now unbeaten from two starts, and did an excellent job to land the Pioneer Services Cup Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m).

McDonald and O’Shea also finished second with $2.15 favorite Pizarro, who chased gome Clemenceau ($3.40) in the Brolton Group Maiden Plate (1100m).

James Cummings also put his hand up for a Hawkesbury double, scoring with Quatenus ($3.70) and Canbya ($8).

Rachel King and Jason Collett, winners of the last two Hawkesbury premierships, were the respective riders of the Cummings’ winners.

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