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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: May 4, 2021: BLAKE Ryan was a “jump” ahead of his rivals at Hawkesbury today!

The young Hawkesbury trainer and accomplished horseman clinched his first provincial winner – and on his home track to boot.

Ryan won the HRC Motel Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m) with lightly-raced Shoeless Joe (Regan Bayliss), who was having only his third start.

A $12 chance, Shoeless Joe relished the soft ground to defeat another Hawkesbury representative, Brad Widdup’s Blinding Light ($3.30), and Blackall ($7).

A three-year-old son of former ace sprinter Exceed and Excel, Shoeless Joe is out of the 2003 dual Royal Randwick Group 1 winner Hasna (ATC Sires Produce Stakes, 1400m and Champagne Stakes, 1600m), who was retired from breeding last December.

Ryan, no stranger to Hawkesbury having previously spent a couple of years there managing his Rosehill-based father Gerald’s second stable, recently branched out on his own and set up shop at the provincial track.

He was disappointed with Shoeless Joe’s last start at Nowra on April 20 when ninth as a $4.60 favorite in a Maiden Handicap (1100m).

“I thought he would go close after a good first-up run for me at Nowra, but he raced a bit flat,” Ryan said this evening.

“Even though they ran good time, he still didn’t finish the race off, so I played around with him at home since.

“We are lucky at Hawkesbury as there is a cross-country track into the bush, and I took him there and put him over a few logs.

“He can’t jump, but they are only small logs and it was a break from his normal routine.

“Shoeless Joe really responded to it, and worked keenly last Thursday morning.

“I expected him to run well today, and the cut out of the ground following morning rain no doubt also helped.”

Ryan has around 25 horses on his books, including 10 currently in work, and also will prepare a dozen youngsters for the Ready2Race sale later in the year as unraced two-year-olds.

Not only did he win with his first provincial starter today, but also scored with his debut runner; Divine Future at Orange on February 20. As for making it a hat-trick to savour by winning with his first city runner sometime in the future, Ryan was realistic.

“I’ve got to find the right horse first,” he said. “I’m not going to town just to make up the numbers.”

Shoeless Joe’s rider Bayliss rode his seventh Hawkesbury winner this season, whilst Josh Parr, who rode a treble (including the Evergreen Turf Hawkesbury Gold Cup on Archedemus) at last Saturday’s stand-alone meeting, carried that form into today’s meeting with a double.

He scored on Quiet Michael ($1.50 favorite) and Time For Victory ($5.50) to take his Hawkesbury tally this season to nine.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, for Parr, who pleaded guilty to a charge that he used a mobile phone in the jockeys’ room without permission of RacingNSW stewards.

Parr was fined $500, and stewards adjourned the inquiry in respect to the content that was observed on the jockey’s phone.

Rachel King was fined $300 for not riding fifth placegetter Raison D’Etre fully out to the finish of the Elite Sand & Soil Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m), and Rory Hutchings copped a $200 fine for a late application to ride runner-up Titatnium Power 0.5kg overweight at 58.5kg in the Blakes Marine Class 1 Handicap (1300m).

Time For Victory’s trainer Mark Newnham (13 wins) increased his premiership lead to five over Kris Lees.

Jason Collett took the outright lead with 12 wins in the jockeys’ premiership as a result of his success on Madam Charm ($2.90) in the Pink Finss Charity Maiden Handicap (1500m).

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