When owners Domeland first asked Sara Ryan if she would be their private trainer just over a year ago, she questioned their sanity.
But the 29-year-old, who prepares a boutique team of 23 on the NSW Central Coast, is proving Domeland’s judgement to be spot on.
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After qualifying Attractable for the Melbourne Cup Day feature with a Coffs Harbour Cup victory in August, Ryan timed the horse’s preparation to the minute, producing him for a peak performance in Tuesday’s $3 million Big Dance (1600m) at Randwick.
“When Domeland asked me to train for them I thought, you are absolutely crazy,” Ryan said.
“I used to pre-train their horses before we sent them out to the trainers, so I worked with the other trainers Domeland has had, being John O’Shea, Claire Cunningham, Peter Moody.
Regan Bayliss powers Attractable home in The Big Dance at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Credit: Getty Images
“All of them have helped me in an aspect to where I am today.”
It has been a remarkable journey for Ryan, whose background is with performance horses and eventers.
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But she has managed to transfer those horsemanship skills to thoroughbreds and rides all her team in trackwork, including Attractable.
“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 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.”
Rookie trainer Ryan has worked with some big names. Credit: RAS Newswire
Partnered by Regan Bayliss, Attractable ($19) sat on a hot speed then found another gear at the top of the straight, streaking clear to beat a brave Cepheus ($4.80 fav) by 1-1/4 lengths with Super Helpful ($19) another 1-1/2 lengths away third.
Bayliss said he knew the race was being run at a good tempo, but he had faith Attractable was tough enough to absorb the pressure.
“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,” Bayliss said.
“He was tough right through the line and it’s a great result.”
Ryan had planned to run Attractable in the Big Dance and then The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange a fortnight from Saturday, but she said she would see how he pulled up before making a final call.
Nash Rawiller gave favourite Cepheus a lovely run trailing the speed and he tried hard under his 62kg topweight but couldn’t match the winner.
“He gave his all and I loved the way he dug at the 100 metres to try and win it,” Rawiller said.
“He really felt the pinch the last 50 metres but couldn’t be more proud of the horse.”
– With RAS NewsWire
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