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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: May 22, 2022: BLAKE Ryan missed the last 100m of Momack’s Rosehill Gardens victory yesterday – but had a “fair idea” he had clinched a metropolitan breakthrough.

The Hawkesbury trainer was many kilometres away preparing two stablemates for their debuts at the Dubbo race meeting as his wife Jess looked after Momack, and had to watch the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m) on his mobile phone.

“I took the two-year-olds (Apple Cubed and Sukhbir) to Dubbo on Friday afternoon and stabled them overnight with local trainer Clint Lundholm,” Ryan said this morning.

“They were being brushed ready to take them over to the track for the Silver Goblet Preview as I was watching Momack’s race.

“It was on delay and cut out 100m from the finish when I started getting text messages, so I thought he must have hung on.”

Hang on a gutsy Momack did. Starting at $15 and with Keagan Latham aboard, he led home a Hawkesbury quinella, holding out the determined finish of fellow trainer Garry Frazer’s three-year-old filly Anagain, also a $15 chance.

The city breakthrough – Ryan’s fifth success this season and his seventh overall after kicking off at Hawkesbury early last year – could not have been more timely as he is about to move to a bigger training set-up.

“I had the opportunity to move to owner Grahame Mapp’s stables (previously occupied by currently disqualified trainer Garry White) on June 1, and took it,” Ryan said.

“Whereas I have 18 boxes at present, I will be able to nearly double that number.”

Ryan got his licence in late December, 2020 and started out renting half a dozen boxes from multiple Group 1 winning trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith, who subsequently relocated to Coffs Harbour last year.

He won with his first starter Divine Future at Orange on February 20 last year, and was understandably thrilled to clinch his first city winner yesterday, even though he wasn’t on course.

“There has been a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and hopefully it’s the beginning of many more winners in town,” he said.

Ryan is the fifth trainer of the now Uncle Mo five-year-old Momack, who fetched only $16,000 when offered at the 2017 Magic Millions National weaning sale.

“I got the horse through a mutual friend, who recommended me to the owners,” he said.

“Momack is genuine and tough, and gets up on the speed.

“He had 15 starts when I got him, and yesterday’s race was his sixth this preparation.

“I thought he could win at Kembla Grange in February at his first run for me, but ran into Character (who subsequently won both the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes at Newcastle and Group 2 Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm) and was narrowly beaten.

“Momack then was placed in both the Orange Cup Prelude and Gundagai Cup, and has really improved since finishing fourth over 1600m at Warwick Farm in mid April.”

Ryan’s maiden city victory coincided with the birthday of his Rosehill-based father Gerald, who has been one of Sydney’s leading trainers for many years.

. HOOFNOTE: Ryan was pleased with the performances of Subhkir ($21) and Apple Cubed ($15), who finished third and fourth respectively in the Silver Goblet Preview (1100m) at Dubbo.

“I didn’t go there expecting to beat the two favorites,” he said.

“There was nothing between my pair in a track gallop at home on Tuesday morning, and little between them at the finish yesterday.”

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