By Tony Megahey
Bathurst’s racing traditionalists, Don Ryan 83 years, former jockey and broadcaster, and his eldest son Andrew, are enjoying a flourishing first year training partnership leading into Saturday’s Dubbo Turf Club TAB meeting.
With a team of just five gallopers, they have won seven TAB races with a winning percentage of 25% and Don, head of Ryan Bloodstock, is fondly remembered for broadcasting regional sport in company with Junee’s emerging young superstar, Ray “Rabbits” Warren.
The Ryan’s strike rate on the big stretches at Dubbo with minimal numbers has been outstanding. Performed sprinter Somebody, a TAB Highway contender, and rising Annecy, both with winning doubles.
Annecy, with the promise of three wins from 11 starts, attempts another rise in class in a Southlake’s Estate BM 65 (1000m) for prolific regional rider Greg Ryan. The feature event on a strong seven-race TAB meeting, has drawn a particularly strong field with the training prowess of Allan Denham (Happy Go Plucky), Clint Lundholm (Snippetty Snip and Blinkin Rockin) and Connie Greig (Bergdorf) having runners.
“Aside from the Cups meetings it’s as strong as it gets with capacity fields in most races on a party atmosphere day and that sprint is a hot race,” enthused Dubbo General Manager, Vincent Gordon. “We’re expecting a crowd around 4000. And those Ryan’s rarely miss when they bring runners here.”
Andrew Ryan was more hopeful than bullish about the prospects of Annecy to be ridden by Greg Ryan in the sprint.
“She’s a mare, dad and I have an opinion of, and while the ‘1000’ is short of her best resuming, she’s had a trial, won at 1300m and at the track,” Andrew assessed. "And when you’re lucky enough to get Grey Ryan on anything, it has to be a bonus. But she’ll improve on whatever she does and over further.
“Even more so for Nurture in the sixth, as her best form is out to 1800m and 2000m. She’ll be ridden by Eleanor Webster-Hawes; she’s doing a marvellous job for us, riding all our fast work, and a really capable rider. Her partner is Mathew Cahill a lovely couple.”
And Don at 83, will be trackside, as he has been for over 60 memorable years: “He sure will, dad’s a marvel, sharp as ever, and such an acute memory. He watches the daily meetings on Sky Racing religiously, especially this region, and knows the form. He’s got a little motorised vehicle to get to trackwork and feeding in the afternoon.”