Most trainers will tell you they don’t like to play favourites with their horses but Sara Ryan has no issue with saying Crosscheck is hers.
And it’s because she has that soft spot Ryan is excited to bring the six-year-old back to the races in the Midway Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday and see if she can notch another win.
It’s well known now Ryan has been involved in the careers of the Domeland horses from the start and it’s from the start that Crosscheck stole her heart.
“I absolutely love this horse, I always have,’’ she said.
“She’s been my favourite since we first bought her so I really wanted to have a go with her.”
Crosscheck, $15 with TAB on Wednesday, hasn’t raced since March last year and Ryan said while she has been off the scene for an extended time there wasn’t serious consideration about sending her to the breeding barn she was put in that category when Ryan took over the training of the Domeland horses.
But she’s not been idle in the paddock, dressage work has been a large part of Crosscheck’s life and she’s had a solid build up for a return with two trials in June.
“We were going through all the horses and the ones that were progressive were the ones we started with when I took over,’’ Ryan said.
“The ones we were thinking about potentially breeding with we put away.
“She’s been ticking over at the farm, that’s the great thing about Domeland, she hasn’t been sitting there doing nothing.”
Ryan said if Crosscheck, a winner of four from 14, runs up to her work on Wednesday morning another Midway win isn’t beyond the mare – her last win was in a Midway at Rosehill in January 2022 as a $41 chance.
“I’m quite excited to see what she does. Off her gallop I would expect a solid performance, she has good first-up form,’’ she said.
A hat-trick awaits So Good So Cool if he can take out the Vale Ray Selkrig Handicap (1100m).
He beat subsequent winner Principessa at Canterbury in late May then produced another big finish to win a Midway at Randwick a month ago.
While he doesn’t have the advantage of a claim this time around, Ryan said she always expects So Good So Cool to put in.
“He’s one of those horses that loves what he does. Every time I give him a new challenge he just steps up to it,’’ she said.
“He doesn’t like losing and in every one of his starts he gives it his all. I tried to step him over the 1400m but he just doesn’t have the sprint for that far.
“He loves 1100m or 1200m, that’s his peak distance.”
There’ll be no changing the pattern with the four-year-old who often settles nearer last than first in his races.
“You have to leave him alone, let him land where he’s comfortable and let him travel on his own then bring him out and let him have that last sprint to the end,’’ Ryan said.
“You ask the next question and he answers, I’m not worried about going up in grade because it is the next step for him.”
A decision will be made closer to Saturday as to whether front-running grey Much Much Better lines up in the Bowermans Handicap (1200m) or he’s saved for next week’s Ramornie Handicap.
The five-year-old drew wide at Randwick but if he does line up Ryan said he’s shown in his trial wins and work at home that he’s in good order.
“He’s won from wide gates before, it’s just whether anything kicks up inside him,’’ she said.
“He did both those trials under not much pressure at all and he’s definitely a stronger horse than he was before.”
– Racing NSW