By Tony Megahey
Recent city TAB Highway contenders Ryan Bloodstock and the Cameron Crockett stable provide the strongest push into Sunday’s booming Wellington TAB meeting where champion regional jockey Greg Ryan has stood down from a full book with injury.
Capacity fields and emergencies are the order on a seven race TAB programme at the popular western track.
Ryan miraculously recovered to win a tenth Gilgandra Cup ($35,000) last Sunday on Cameron Crockett’s Artistic Beauty after the champion regional rider fell in an early race.
“Greg is still in a fair bit of pain in his left shoulder, so we’re going for x-rays today, hoping there’s nothing structural or more serious,” Greg’s wife and agent Pauline reports.
Meanwhile, Bathurst trainer Andrew Ryan is buoyed by the big day.
“The fields are big because of the huge interest in the upcoming Country Championships and the Wellington Boot up here,” he said. “And the locals tell us the track is in great order.”
The in-form father and son team of Don and Andrew are taking the next confident step with rising mare Ave (Roman Emperor) who started a prohibitive $1.28 winning a 1200m maiden by a wide margin in smart time on her home track three weeks ago. She contests the Wellington Boot 8th April BM 55 1400m event for stable rider Eleanor Webster-Hawes.
“We bred her and Dad and I have always had a high opinion of her,” Andrew enthused.
“She a really nice progressive mare, it was a strong win last start, out to 1400m suits her and she’s come on.
“The form around us is solid. I see that Radetzky who beat us at Orange has won since. Going from a maiden into a grade where they’ve won three or more races is always tough but she’s got the upside third run back.”
The Ryans also have another promising staying mare in Nurture, contesting the Peter Milling Class 1&Maiden over 1700m. They consider she could develop into a Country Cups contender and a city Highway over a distance is on the radar.
“She’s always shown good ability and we’ll see her best when she gets out over more ground this prep,” Andrew adds. “We missed a run at Bathurst when she had some heat in a joint so while we think she’ll run well, she’ll certainly improve on whatever she does.”
Mudgee’s Cameron Crockett, buoyed by last Sunday’s Gilgandra Cup win, has promising dual winner Kingsbridge, a late Randwick Highway scratching last Saturday, back in grade in a BM 58, 1600m event.
Lightly raced stable mate Stunner is well placed in a maiden event from a good draw after a recent placing at Narromine.
Wellington will race on a soft five track rating and officials have catered for a capacity crowd as recent hot temperatures have abated.