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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


DECEMBER 7, 2023: BLAKE Ryan rated it as the most satisfying win of his training career – and it’s easy to understand why.

Hawkesbury-based Ryan clinched his first victory of the season with four-year-old mare Lady Extreme, who couldn’t have been more impressive on debut in the Maiden Plate (1000m) at Gosford today.

The well-bred daughter of Extreme Choice fetched $250,000 as a Gold Coast yearling in 2021, but never made it to the races for leading trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

“I don’t think she even got to a jumpout,” Ryan said.

“When things didn’t work out, Luke Wilkinson, who bred Lady Extreme, bought his fellow owners out for $27,500 online in March.”

But whilst Wilkinson and Ryan are great mates, it wasn’t intended for him to train the then three-year-old filly.

“Luke rang to ask if I had a spare box for Lady Extreme at my Hawkesbury stable for a few days en route to Victoria, where he was going to send her to stud,” Ryan explained.

“She arrived on the Thursday and was due to leave the following Monday afternoon.

“Luke called back on Monday morning and asked if I was prepared to have a go with her before he began breeding with her.

“I agreed of course, but she came to me with a long list of historical issues.

“We got her going, but she went shin sore and had to be tipped out.

“I told Luke she had shown enough to persevere with and to give her another go.

“Since she came back into work this time, she hasn’t looked back.”

Ridden by Jay Ford, Lady Extreme ($5) stormed home to win easily from Hawkwind ($5.50) and Sweet Patriot ($15).

Ryan nominated Lady Extreme for a $100,000 Super Maiden (1100m) at Warwick Farm yesterday, but instead started eventual third placegetter Ausbred Mimosa ($7.50) in that race.

“I thought it best to keep the mare for a provincial debut, and gained confidence when Ausbred Mimosa ran so well on resumption yesterday,” Ryan said.

“Lady Extreme had beaten her stablemate in an 800m trial at Hawkesbury in mid-November, and then was just beaten in another trial at Kembla Grange at the end of the month.

“Whilst she might not have beaten a strong field today, she ran time (bettering 58secs for the 1000m) and the fact that where she had come from along with Luke and myself being the best of mates made it the most satisfying win of my career.

“Now we’ll look for either another race at the provincials or perhaps even go to town. I’m not sure where her ceiling is, but it was a great thrill to get her up and running and on the board straight away.”

Ryan, who recently lost a number of his better-performed horses (including Momack, who was sold to race in country Queensland, and I Am Brazen, who was retired) has 30 horses in work – and 24 of them are unraced.

He is proving quite adept at winning first-up with horses, and Lady Extreme was his 17th success, having won with his very first runner Divine Future at Orange on February 20, 2021.

. HOOFNOTE: Luke Wilkinson was returning from Victoria, and stopped off at Hungry Jack’s at Gundagai to watch on his phone his mare shed her maiden status on debut.

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