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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

JOCKEY AND GEAR CHANGE FOR RYAN'S FILLY


TUESDAY: February 20, 2024: HAWKESBURY trainer Blake Ryan has made two changes – one forced and the other of his own volition – for Santasia’s home track assignment tomorrow.

Ryan needed to find a replacement for Alysha Collett, who has ridden the filly in her three starts to date, as she is one of 14 jockeys from around the globe invited to compete in a series of four races in the International Jockeys’ Challenge at Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) on Friday.

So older brother Jason, a previous Hawkesbury jockeys’ premiership winner and equal second so far this season with six winners, steps in for the Blakes Marine Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1000m).

Additionally, Ryan has opted for a gear change on Santasia, who will race in a one-eyed blinker on her near side.

But it’s something he has had in mind for a while, and definitely nothing new to him.

“Dad (Rosehill Gardens trainer Gerald Ryan) used a one-eyed blinker on his horses when he considered it necessary when I was working with him,” Ryan explained.

“With Santasia, I’ve been thinking about putting one on her for a while, but didn’t want to do it before her first start and have waited until now.

“She wobbles more so than hangs out, and that’s only because of her inexperience.

“Santasia has reacted well to the near side blinker in her work since her last run at Goulburn (ironically when beaten by Ryan’s father Gerald and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou’s more experienced mare Azayaka, who was having her sixth start).”

A $32,000 weanling purchase in Melbourne in 2021 for Stanton Thoroughbreds, the Santos three-year-old has made an excellent start to her racing career under Ryan’s guidance.

After a debut close second to another debutante Dize in a Gosford Midway 3YO Maiden Plate (1000m) on New Year’s Eve, Santasia bolted away with a Super Maiden Plate over the same distance at Kembla Grange on January 20.

She then tackled a Class 1 Handicap – again at 1000m – at Goulburn 10 days later when a $1.95 favorite and a game second to Azayaka.

“It’s always difficult going straight from a Maiden to a Class 1, and it wasn’t an easy race either, with Sydney trainers such as Annabel Neasham, Bjorn Baker and Peter and Paul Snowden, as well as Dad and Sterling, having runners.

“I’m happy with how Santasia has trained on, but she has done a beaut job in her first racing campaign and this will be her last run before having a break.

“Her three starts for me have all been on good ground, so how she will handle the wet is anyone’s guess.

“But her sire (Santos) won the Group 2 Skyline Stakes as a two-year-old on a soft track, and her dam (Omniscient) was placed on both soft and heavy ground, so hopefully she will be okay.

“I’m a little concerned that she might now be better off at 1100m, as all her three runs have been at 1000m.”

Ryan secured five yearlings at the recent Inglis Classic sale, and has 33 horses in work, predominantly youngsters.

TAB.com.au has the Provincial Class 1 as a “two-horse race” with Santasia a $2.25 favorite and Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle’s Reigning King not far behind at $2.50.

Koby Jennings rides former Victorian three-year-old Reigning King, who broke through at Gosford last October and also was placed twice in his first four starts since joining Doyle’s team.

He hasn’t raced since early November, but has been runner-up in both recent trials at Wyong and Scone.

A $400,000 2022 Inglis Australian Easter yearling, Reigning King is the last foal of the now deceased mare Courgette, whose first foal was the Manhattan Rain mare She Will Reign (six wins including the 2017 Golden Slipper Stakes on a ‘Heavy 10’).

Current Hawkesbury premiership standings for the current season are:

TRAINERS

C. Waller 9

P. & P. Snowden 7

K. Waugh 4

G. Ryan & S. Alexiou 4

R. & L. Price 4

B. Baker 4

J. Pride 4

JOCKEYS

T. Schiller 10

J. Collett 6

Z. Lloyd (a) 6

K. McEvoy 5

A. Hyeronimus 5

. The rail is in the TRUE position for Hawkesbury’s second meeting of the year, and course manager Kyle Cassim earlier this morning posted a “Heavy 8” rating, with a penetrometer reading of 5.95. At 8am the track had received 13mm of rain in the last 24 hours, and a total of 37mm in the past seven days.

 

  

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