By Tony Megahey
Celebrated veteran Greg Ryan is accustomed to hectic racing weekends and the endless kilometres, and these days cutting back after three decades, his 26-year old son Isaac is a valued travelling companion.
After dawn trackwork at Dubbo, the Country riding great and his son were on the road early Friday to ride at Royal Randwick on Saturday, and then return that evening for a full book at Sunday’s historic TAB Gunnedah Cup meeting.
Rushed for time, Greg delegated his wife and racing manager Pauline, the other integral part of the team, to do the talking.
“Greg was really rushed to get on the road to Sydney- this is a huge weekend, really long, and Isaac is helping with the driving this time. I usually go with Greg but I had a lot on at home. Greg’s won the Gunnedah Cup a few times now and he’s got rides in all eight races on Sunday.”
In particular, Ryan has three in-form rides for Wyong trainer Allan Kehoe; Zoffany Magic in the first event, Zaze, race six, and in the last event, Epic Dane. He also has strong chances for Pat Farrell and Sue Grills.
“Greg’s also riding a good chance for Clint Lundholm at Randwick; lovely young fella that Clint, Greg rode for his family for years,” Pauline said.
Ryan with a phenomenal 3600 plus winners on his three decade riding career, is set for a booming weekend. And so are his hordes of supporters who will converge on Gunnedah.
Firstly though, they’ll be well aware that the modest veteran rarely comes to town unless he’s got winning prospects. That’s certainly the case on Saturday with Larlabrook.
Ryan won on the Dubbo flyer at headquarters last September, and he also has a “one-off” ride for prolific Chris Waller on Devil’s Lair.
Meanwhile, Gunnedah Racing Manager Mark Storey is well prepared: “We’ve catered for a bumper crowd, really exciting because we were washed out last year and right now we’re in the middle of a drought and irrigating, but we’ll race on a good three of four," Mark enthused.
“Greg has won the Cup a few times and he’s got numerous other rides on solid form runners, so he’ll have his usual big following. We’ll have our normal betting services of the corresponding interstate meeting and a TAB van on track.”
Winning trebles have been regular for Ryan in another prolific season, and most of his rides on Sunday will start favourite. But it’ll need an absolute gem of a ride from Ryan to overcome an extreme outside barrier draw for highly consistent Walcha gelding Loud Enough in the $40,000 Hope Fuel Gunnedah Showcase Cup (1600m).
Trained by George Woodward, Loud Enough, after a string of regional placings, won his fifth race two weeks ago, a Kempsey 1900m BM 65 when a short-priced favourite. Despite a wide draw also, Wyong’s Damien Lane with Choice Larga, will start favourite, on the strength of city form, before a recent Kembla win and placing.