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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


FRIDAY: May 24, 2024: BLAKE Ryan admits it’s a tall order for last start winner Kote to hump a huge weight and clinch back to back victories at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

But the Hawkesbury trainer is on a roll, having made it two wins from as many starts with talented three-year-old Apic Run at Goulburn today.

Winning a Class 1 straight from debuting successfully in a Maiden isn’t easy, much less going to a Class 2 Handicap (1000m).

However, Apic Run ($2.90 favorite) took it all in his stride with a combined display of pace and grit.

Ridden by Jeff Penza, the Snitzel gelding flew out of the stalls and was never headed.

When challenged strongly in the last 200m by $3.10 second favorite Stipendo, Apic Run would not surrender and beat off his rival to post his second win.

Ryan had also accepted with him at his home track at Hawkesbury yesterday, but chose to return to Goulburn, where he won a Maiden Handicap (1000m) on May 7.

That form was confirmed when runner-up Starlight Girl easily disposed of her rivals over 900m at Queanbeyan last Sunday.

“Apic Run is a real trier,” Ryan said en route home from Goulburn.

“He gave 110 per cent, and had his head down when he left the track.

“Jeff (Penza) suits him because he keeps him busy.

“I wasn’t sure as he won his Maiden on a heavy track, and was back to soft ground and up in class.

“His work between the two runs was ordinary, as it was before he won his first race, but he produces on raceday.

“Apic Run has surprised me a bit.

“He definitely gained experience from his first start, and is still learning.”

Apic Run, raced by Ravenswood Bloodstock, provided Ryan with his eighth winner of the season, equalling the number he trained in 2021-22 in his first full season.

Now his attention turns to Randwick on Saturday, where Kote, who also races in the Ravenswood colours, has to carry a hefty 63kg in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m).

Jason Collett, who won the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in October 2022 on Kote, takes the mount.

“It was good to be able to get Jason,” Ryan said. “He was available when his original booking did not accept.”

Ryan says he has been really happy with the Choisir four-year-old since he won the $200,000 Thunder Thousand (900m) at the Gosford meeting run at Newcastle a fortnight ago.

“I’m under no illusions this time though,” he said. “It’s a tall order with such a big weight in a race stacked with plenty of speed.

“He has drawn directly outside another Hawkesbury sprinter No Statement, and if that horse shows the pace we know he has, then hopefully Kote will be able to follow him across.”

Ryan also accepted with Kote for a Benchmark 85 Handicap (1110m) at Doomben on Saturday, but pulled the pin when he drew off the track.

“He has to run at the weekend as I’m keen to start him in the Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes (formerly June Stakes) over 1100m at Randwick in a fortnight,” he said.

“That’s a race I feel will really suit him with a lesser weight.”

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