By Glenn Davis
There’s not much Janel Ryan hasn’t achieved in her distinguished training career in North Queensland.
American-born Ryan has won a host of Country Cup races in the State’s north since she arrived in Queensland more than 40 years ago and is excited about her next challenge with former Darley cast-off Astoria.
Astoria has had one start for Ryan finishing third to The Harrovian in the Cairns Cup (2100m) on August 10 and is set to clash with stablemate We Just Love It in the North Queensland Amateurs Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Unfortunately, both fared poorly in the barrier draw with Astoria drawing gate 14 and We Just Love It in barrier 17.
Astoria was formerly owned by Darley and started his career with John O’Shea before James Cummings took over in 2017.
He has earned almost $570,000 in prizemoney during his career mostly from his win in the Group 3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle in 2017.
His only other win in his 34-start career was as a two-year-old when he was successful on debut at Warwick Farm in March that year.
Astoria was later bought for $140,000 by Jack Pakis who initially gave the now five-year-old to Beaudesert trainer Diane Murphy to train.
His best performance in five starts for Murphy was an eye-catching second in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich in June.
Pakis then sent him to Rockhampton trainer Tom Button to prepare for the central and Queensland winter carnivals but he flopped in the Rockhampton Cup finishing a distant 12th to the Tony Gollan-trained Silvera.
Astoria then headed further north finishing sixth to Bergerac in the Mackay Cup (2000m) and fourth to The Harrovian in the Townsville Cup (2000m) before joining Ryan’s stables.
“I didn’t think he had the miles in his legs to win the Cairns Cup and he was caught wide,” Ryan said.
“But he did a good job to run third and it was an honest run.
“He’s improved and will be competitive again but I’ve got another strong chance in the race with We Just Love It.”
We Just Love It won last year’s Cairns Cup but failed to repeat his winning effort this year when he finished eighth behind The Harrovian.
“It wasn’t a hard run for him and he’s also improved,” she said.
“I think both have strong chances but I wouldn’t like to split them.”
Racing Queensland webnews August 23