By Glenn Davis
The Janel Ryan and Robert Thompson combination has struck fear into many north Queensland tracks in recent times and now the pair hope to make their mark in the Magic Millions Country Cup at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Ryan will saddle up Polar Blast who will be ridden by Thompson and Space Time, a Chris Whiteley mount in the 1200-metre feature which carries a $250,000 purse.
Ryan has made a big name for herself in the north but it hasn't come without a lot of hard work over many years.
Born in the United States, Ryan arrived in Queensland more than four decades ago and spent more than 11 years living in Cairns before moving to Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands.
She's won host of country Cups in the north including three Cairns Cups with Seafight, Pretty Fox and We Just Love It as well as the Townsville Amateurs Cup and Cairns Amateurs Cup.
Her husband Ron has been close friends for many years with Thompson who makes regularly trips to north Queensland to ride Ryan’s horses during the northern winter carnival.
“I’ve only ever had one starter in Brisbane when Zero To Hero went down for a middle-distance race quite a few years ago but things never worked out when he didn’t travel well,” Ryan said.
“I’ve got two in the Country Cup and both have good chances and I couldn’t separate them.
“I’m going crazy trying to organise things as I’ve got three runners in Townsville today and we won’t get home until midnight.
“I’ve also got three runners at the TAB meeting at Innisfail on Saturday while I’ll be at the Gold Coast.
“I’ve also got my cats and dogs which will have to be fed while I’m away.”
Six-year-old Polar Blast has started 28 times for 10 wins and nine placings and has won nine of his 15 starts since entering Ryan’s stables in late 2018.
Polar Blast is coming off a last start win at Townsville on December 14 and will be aiming to extend his winning sequence to five.
Former Victorian Space Time has won 11 of his 46 starts, ten of which have been for Ryan.
The seven-year-old won over 1200 metres at Townsville in November before finishing second to Polar Blast at the same track last appearance.
“Polar Blast only just beat Space Time last start so there’s not much between,” Ryan said.
“Robert (Thompson) has won a few races on Polar Blast and Chris (Whiteley) has also won a few on Space Time so they know the horses well.
“I don’t know much about the Gold Coast track but barriers are important but luck in running is my biggest concern.”
Racing Queensland webnews January 2