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RYAN READY TO MAKE HER MARK

To say the past nine months has been hectic for Sara Ryan is an understatement.

The 28-year-old has been launched into the tough world of horse training in a big way, going from mentoring two horses, mostly around country tracks, to overseeing a stable of 27 horses for racing powerhouse Domeland and saddling up a runner in a $1million race.

But you get the impression from speaking to Wyong-based Ryan that she isn’t too fazed by the sometimes-harsh realities of training.

Her experience far exceeds her years in the racing game and being a lover of horses and former professional showjumper doesn’t hurt.

“It’s been a whirlwind for sure and I’ve been on a real upward learning curve, but I am really loving it,” Ryan said.

“It all happened very quickly. It’s taken some time to get the systems in place, mainly with staff, because things have changed for everyone.

“We have the 12 horses at the Wyong stables and 15 here at the farm. There are lots of moving parts, but it’s going along well.

“It certainly isn’t where I envisioned my life would be, but I can’t imagine doing anything else now.”

Ryan didn’t come from a racing background, having grown up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and spending weekends at the beach.

In fact, she had to beg her parents for her first horse when she was 15 after a friend introduced her to riding.

“They eventually gave in, and I think they’ve regretted it ever since,” Ryan laughed. “I was hooked from the start and then got into show jumping.”

She gave university a shot and was more than two years into a biochemical engineering degree when the lure of the horses won out.

Ryan tasted considerable success in the show jumping arena and was placed at Grand Prix level.

“I wanted the outdoors and the horses. I’d been in the performance world for a while and heard Domeland was looking for an event/dressage rider, to ride their horses on the flat.

“So, I came in and did that and it kind of snowballed from there. They asked me to manage the pre-trainers, then run the whole operation, breeding, and spelling.”

After four years of pre-training Ryan took out a trainer’s licence, working her own two gallopers alongside the Domeland job before a meeting earlier this year saw her life change.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” she recalled. “They sat me down and said they wanted to make everything internal and would I be willing to taking on the training. I thought “holy crap” I don’t know if I’m ready for this.

“I decided to give it a go because I knew anything I’ve needed, support wise, would be there for me.

“It’s very nice to have a team that puts their whole support behind you.”

Ryan was certainly thrown into the deep end with her first two runners at Canterbury and Randwick.

Her first winner came with Prefect Match on her home track, just her sixth runner.

“That was a massive thrill and go me hooked.

“Da Nang Star’s win at Port Macquarie is probably the most rewarding win to date. He’s the stable favourite and has had an inconsistent preparation, so to see him win was something special for everyone.”

Ryan’s stats speak for themselves with four winners and nine placings from 53 starters and she is excited about her prospects in the months ahead.

She’s had a frustrating run of placings with four thirds from her past nine runners and would love to break through with So Good So Cool in today’s Kembla Grange Provincial Midway Qualifier.

“Much Much Better and Parry Sound are racing well in higher grades, and I have an English import, The Mediterranean and if we can get him right, he’s going to be something special. The rest of the team are progressing well.”

Ryan lives on a Jilliby property with her partner Will Mathew, a professional showjumper, and 28 horses.

When she’s not riding her horses work at Domeland and travelling to meetings, she still finds time for show jumping in a lot less competitive arena to the Grand Prix.

“I still enjoy it, but my priority now is the racehorses. I ride all my own work and I find that a vital part of my training. I need to know how they are feeling and where they are at.

“I love working with the horses and my biggest thing is to see them perform to their best.”

There’s little doubt this “newcomer” to racing will be among the training ranks for many years to come.






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