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Ryan picks out two for punters at Townsville

By Glenn Davis

North Queensland trainer Janel Ryan hates coming home from the races without a winner.

The American-born Ryan arrived in Australia more than 30 years ago, spending more than 11 years in Cairns before moving to Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands.

She has won a host of country Cups in the north including a Townsville Amateur Cup and three Cairns Cups with Pretty Fox, Sea Fight and this year with We Just Love It.

“I’ve won trainers’ premierships as well up this way but they don’t bother me,” she said.

“I just hate coming home from the races without winner.”

Ryan has tipped her hand for punters at the Townsville meeting on Thursday where she has accepted with five runners.

“I think my best chance is Centre Red followed by Hunter Caulfield,” Ryan said.

Centre Red will be ridden by Brad Pengelly in the Hygain Release Class One Handicap (1300m) while Queensland’s leading provincial rider Justin Stanley will be legged up on Hunter Caulfield in the Townsville Turf Club Wedding Venues Benchmark 65 Handicap (1400m).

Centre Red has had 11 starts for two wins and five placings and is coming off a last start fourth over 1250 metres in a Class One at Cairns on September 7.

“He’s a five-year-old who has had only 11 starts but he’s been racing consistently,” Ryan said.

“He’s been running home well but I think he’s been looking for more ground like this race.

“I bought him as a baby and I’ve also got his full sister who just turned four and is still a maiden.”

Ryan also is hopeful Hunter Caulfield can deliver for punters.

Hunter Caulfield was bought by Ryan off Newcastle’s David Atkins on the advice of champion Newcastle jockey Robert Thomson and is now raced by her daughter Renee Portelli and her husband Lukas.

Thomson is a regular visitor for the country Cups carnivals in north Queensland each year and has had a long and successful association with Ryan.

The pair combined to win this year’s Cairns Cup with We Just Love It.

Hunter Caulfield won two of his 13 starts for Atkins before being sold and sent to Ryan.

The seven-year-old has only started five times for Ryan and is yet to miss a place with one win and four placings including a last start second in a 1400-metre Class Three at Cairns on September 7.

“He might be a seven-year-old now but believe it or not he’s still learning to race,” Ryan said.

“He’s still very green and is still learning what it’s all about.

“He’s my second-best chance behind Centre Red.”

Racing Queensland webnews   October 3