A hands on approach to training has always suited Sara Ryan since she took on the daunting job of preparing horses for Domeland and that’s the way she wants it to stay after notching her biggest win with Attractable in the $3 million Big Dance (1600m) at Randwick.
The story has been well told that Ryan, 29, was working for Domeland in pre-training horses when she was approached some 18 months ago to take over training their horses.
Very much unassuming, Ryan is taking to a job that she was a little reluctant to take on and the results are there to be seen with a horse like Attractable.
“When Domeland asked me to train for them I thought you are absolutely crazy,’’ she said.
“I used to pre-train the horses before we sent them out to the trainers so I worked with the other trainers Domeland have had being John O’Shea, Clare Cunningham (Collett), Peter Moody.
“All of them have helped me in an aspect to where I am today.”
Ryan qualified Attractable for the Big Dance by winning the Coffs Harbour Cup back in August but had to revert to plan B when the gelding ran out of his skin first-up from a spell.
That’s the benefit of knowing her horses, around 23 in work, so closely. She knew the five-year-old had over-exerted in the $1.5m Alan Brown she changed course and after sitting on his back on Monday knew he was ready to run a big race.
“This horse, he gives his heart and that’s why I love him so much,’’ Ryan said.
“I rode him yesterday and he tried to kill me so I knew he was ready for today.
“He’s just one of those horses, he thinks he’s a comedian, he had a good buck, had a good play coming off the track and that’s when I know he’s right. He thinks he is hilarious, I don’t.”
The race went exactly to Ryan’s plan. Jockey Regan Bayliss parked Attractable outside the leader Iknowastar and went for home early in the straight.
He held 1-1/4 lengths over the gallant Matt Dunn-trained Cepheus, with his 62kg, while Super Helpful ran on into third for Barb Joseph and sons Paul and Matt Jones.
“I ride all my own work so I know my horses inside and out,’’ she said.
“I need to have a feel of them, especially the way I train. I was quietly confident but I was a bit worried about the rain earlier in the week.”
Bayliss showed faith in Attractable when they made a bid for victory knowing he’s a hard horse to get the better of when he’s on song.
“I knew we were rolling out in front,’’ he said.
“I gave him a little niggle at the top of the straight and he went straight past the leader and once he hits the front, he’s a hard horse to peg back. He was tough right through the line and it’s a great result.”
Ryan is in two minds about what to do with Attractable next on the back of the Big Dance win.
There’s the $1 million The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on November 25 or the Group 2 $2m The Ingham (1600m) two weeks later.
“The Gong was the plan but I will see how he pulls up,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, the Kris Lees-trained Spangler proved a bit too strong in the $750,000 Little Dance (1600m) holding off the fast finishing Lion’s Roar with Cotehele in third.
– Racing NSW