By Glenn Davis
Tolga trainer Janel Ryan hopes to add another Cup to her trophy cabinet when former NSW sprinter Polar Blast tackles the Country Cups Challenge in Cairns on Sunday.
Polar Blast is chasing a hat-trick of wins but is ineligible for the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge final on George Moore Stakes day at Doomben on November 30.
“One of the conditions for a horse to qualify is they must have started a minimum five times at a non-TAB meeting in the last 12 months,” Ryan said.
“Unfortunately, the only non-TAB meeting he’s started in was at Innisfail where he won last start, so he’s not eligible for the final.”
The $19,000 Country Cups Challenge/Cairns City Cup qualifier over 1400 metres has attracted a strong field of nine.
A total of 16 qualifying races have been programmed around the State culminating in the final at Doomben.
Despite not being eligible for the final, Ryan hasn’t ruled out sending Polar Blast to Brisbane for the summer carnival.
“He’s racing in good form and even though he can’t run in the final in Brisbane there’s no reason why we can’t send him down there for a no-metropolitan win race,” she said.
“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.”
Six-year-old Polar Blast has started 26 times for eight wins and nine placings and has won seven of his 13 starts since entering Ryan’s stables.
Polar Blast was originally trained in Sydney by Gerald Ryan before being sold to Tolga trainer Michael Lee.
“Michael bought him off Gerald Ryan as his previous owners wanted a stayer,” Ryan said.
“Michael got him for a cheap price but he had too many horses so he kept a share and gave him to me to train before selling his share later on.”
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 31 years ago and spent more than 11 years living in Cairns before moving to Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands.
She's won a host of country Cups in the north including a Townsville Amateurs Cup and Cairns Cup.
Racing Queensland webnews November 1