With more than 20,000 races next to his name, it’s little wonder champion jockey Greg Ryan isn’t battling any pre-race nerves ahead of Friday’s $50,000 Robert Oatley Vineyards Mudgee Cup Showcase.
“Yeah, look, I’ve been a jockey for 28 years so you could say I’ve had a few rides before,” Ryan laughed.
“I’ve been around thousands of times so I am sort of used to it. I know what I’m doing, and there’s no pre-race nerves.”
Ryan will be riding for Mudgee-based trainer Gayna Williams on in-form Dapperized, a gelding with three wins from his last four starts.
Gayna wouldn’t be able to present the horse any better so he will run up to his ability, he’s just got to beat the harder horses.Greg Ryan
“He’s in a bit harder race (on Friday) but is racing very well.”
The seven-year-old won the Rylstone Hotel Benchmark 58 Handicap at Mudgee in September before putting together back-to-back wins in the Royal Hotel Iris Rennie Memorial Manilla Cup at Gunnedah and the Qube Logistics Cotton Cup at Warren.
Tellingly, all three victories were with Ryan in the saddle and over Friday’s Cup distance, 1600m.
Friday’s Mudgee Cup will be a big step up in class for Williams’ gelding, and Ryan admits there is couple of horses Dapperized will have to contend with - Know How trained by Brett Thompson (Gulgong) and Missybeel trained by Bjorn Baker (Warwick Farm).
The highly-rated Red Knot was scratched on Thursday morning.
“They are all there to beat but those (two) would probably be the hardest,” Ryan said.
Friday’s meeting is the first in Mudgee since legendary horse-breaker Max Crockett died and Ryan says the day will be a chance to remember the master.
“I remember riding for Max when I first started. He was one of the characters of the game and will be sorely missed,” Ryan said.
He was good fun to have around, and will be remembered for his Akubra and for his character, and was one of the more colourful people in the industry.Greg Ryan
Race one jumps at 1.43pm, with the Mudgee Cup running at 5.15pm.