THURSDAY: December 30, 2021: WHEN it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Hawkesbury trainer Blake Ryan doesn’t mind making the six-hour return journey to Canberra with his mare Divine Future when she races so well – as she did again yesterday.
Given a perfect run by Adrian Layt from a soft draw, Divine Future ($3.10) was too strong for front-runner and $2.35 favorite My Snow Queen, forging clear over the closing stages to score decisively.
In the process, she clocked a new track record of 1:15.60 on a “fast deck”, as her trainer put it.
In his first year of training, Ryan chalked up his fifth winner yesterday, including two with Divine Future, who was his first starter and gave him a memorable beginning to his career when she was successful in a 1280m Maiden at Orange on February 20.
The mare was transferred to him by his Rosehill-based father Gerald Ryan and co-trainer Sterling Alexiou because she was “a bit quirky” – and the experienced young Hawkesbury horseman has done a superb job with her.
But he is the first to admit Divine Future has been hard work.
“You have to keep walking her at the races, and sometimes it takes three of us to put a saddle on her,” Ryan said this morning.
“She was too fresh at her previous run at Hawkesbury (when seventh to Sweet Ruby in a 1400m Benchmark 64 Handicap on December 16) and it was probably her worst run for me, but in the strongest class.
“Her behaviour yesterday was better, and no doubt it had something to do with the three-hour float trip to Canberra helping settle her.
“She has now had three starts there for a win and two placings earlier in the year.
“There is another suitable race (a 1300m Benchmark 65 Handicap) at Canberra in a fortnight (January 12), so why not go back?”
Ryan is happy with results in his first calendar year of training since branching out on his own and setting up shop at Hawkesbury, where he worked for a number of years looking after his father’s then satellite stable.
“We’ve had five winners (with four individual horses) and nine placegetters from 33 starters, and a good percentage have finished in the Top 5,” he said.
“I’ve got 16 in work currently with three in the paddock. You have to travel with your horses and place them where they can be competitive, and the results indicate we are doing that.”
Ryan will finish 2021 at Gosford tomorrow with a recent addition to his stable, Etheridge, a city winner and last start Warwick Farm placegetter.
Mitchell Bell will ride the mare in the Central Coast Mayor’s Cup (1900m), and she will race without winkers.
“I was looking for another horse ready to go to the races, and know Etheridge’s family well, and we were able to purchase her online,” Ryan explained.
“Her younger brother Britannicus did his earlier racing in Sydney, and has since embarked on a hurdling career in Victoria.
“Etheridge had a week in the paddock before she came to me, and will take improvement from tomorrow’s race.
“But if she runs well, we will take her to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions meeting on January 15.
“We will nominate for both the 1800m Open and 2400m Subzero, with the latter (worth $1m) the likely target, but it’s all definitely dependent on how she performs at Gosford.”