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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT'S not often a trainer gives credit to another for a "helping hand" and rare indeed when the number is three!

But Hawkesbury’s Blake Ryan, making a great fist of establishing his own career, isn’t backward in giving due credit to his father Gerald, Mark Newnham and John O’Shea for their guidance.

Ryan, who turned 38 at the weekend and is an experienced horseman in his own right, took out his licence and set up shop at Hawkesbury in January 2021, and had an immediate impact, winning with his first starter Divine Future at Orange the following month.

Just as he did in his amateur riding days when he made a successful debut on $21 roughie Armidales Pride at the Cootamundra picnics on April 14, 2012.

Now with 27 winners (including three from his last six runners) to his name as a trainer, he is looking forward to the future with confidence, but at the same time realises you’re never too old to learn.

“I’m very fortunate to have these three very successful trainers as mentors, to be able to bounce things off them,” Ryan said.

“Obviously Dad plays an important role, even though he has his own business to run in partnership with Sterling Alexiou.

“We speak every day, and I value his input.

“We chat about a lot of things, and of course mainly horse related.

“Mark Newnham is now training in Hong Kong, but gives me a really good perspective on matters.

“When I kicked off at Hawkesbury and rented 10 boxes from Noel Mayfield-Smith (now based at Coffs Harbour), Mark asked if I was interested in pre-training a few horses for him.

“We struck up a nice friendship, and when he relocated overseas last year, I was one of several trainers who got some of his horses.

“We speak a couple of times weekly, and some of my clients (such as last Friday’s Hong Kong-owned Goulburn debut winner Tai Victory) arose thanks to Mark.

“Whenever I speak with him, he is very reassuring. I always get off the phone feeling better.

“John O’Shea is great with both business and human advice.

“We share the RacingNSW-owned facility, and he comes out to Hawkesbury three times a week from his main base at Randwick.

“I’m thankful to be able to tap into his experience face to face.”

Ryan is coming toward the end of his best season so far; two-year-old Tai Victory being his 11th winner, surpassing his previous best eight two seasons back.

He admits it was a slow burn in the first quarter of the racing year; his first winner not arriving until Lady Extreme broke the ice at Gosford on December 7.

But it has been full steam ahead since with six victories in the last seven weeks, including a first ever double at his home track meeting last Tuesday.

Ryan says the opportunity to move to the RacingNSWproperty last September has been a definite advantage.

“When Michael Freedman shifted back to Randwick after Mark went to Hong Kong, I knew I would never get a better set-up to train from,” he said.

“I’ve got 25 boxes and, whilst I don’t have a lot of staff, I’m very appreciative that I’ve got good staff.

“Results are also cattle-related. If you haven’t got the right stock, it’s very hard to win races.

“There was a stage when I was taking horses quite a distance to tracks just to have runners to keep my name out there.

“I knew full well that they couldn’t win, but still got disappointed when they didn’t.

“In hindsight that was a mistake as people are inclined to think you can’t train winners.

“Now there’s a different mindset. It’s a business after all, and you have to move horses on once you know they aren’t up to the mark. 

“It’s been a very pleasing season, and I’ve got a nice team of predominantly young horses, so I’m looking forward to the new racing year.

“At the same time, I’m very much aware the only barometer to judging success is results.”

. HOOFNOTE: Ryan’s 11 season winners to date have come from 10 different horses. Only the lightly-raced Apic Run (two wins from three starts) has been a dual winner, and was sent to the paddock after his latest third on the Kensington track on June 12.

Tai Victory’s owners, who came from Hong Kong to see their youngster score on debut at Goulburn last Friday and flew home that night, capped a big weekend when the Newnham-trained Talents Ambition won at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The former Australian three-year-old raced here as Burling, and was unbeaten in two starts on his home track last year for Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan.

Story John Curtis, June 24, 2024 - Pic supplied



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