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Cups queen eyes Cooktown crown

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Janel Ryan isn’t sure which horse will win the Cooktown Cup this year, but will take a three-pronged attack into the feature race in a bid to add another trophy to her growing collection.

Tutelage and team.  Photo: Peter Roy
Jockey Chris Whiteley, strapper Hannah Dearlove, Ronnie Ryan and Janel Ryan after their Cairns Cup win with Tutelage earlier this year. Photo: Peter Roy

Janel and her husband Ronnie Ryan have won four Cups this year, securing the Atherton, Gordonvale and Cairns Cups, as well as the famous Banana Cup at Innisfail.

The Tolga partnership hopes to finish 2021 on a high by winning the Cooktown Cup and will send three horses up the Mulligan Highway to try and claim the $14,000 feature.

“Any of the three could win it,” said a non-committal Janel, who will saddle up Gaelic, Whitterick and He’s Wow Class in the Cup.

“It will depend on the jockey and the ride on the day. You need a bit of luck sometimes.”

The Ryans have booked a room at the Seaview Motel and said the Cooktown meeting was always a highlight on the racing calendar.

“We love the bush meetings and supporting the little clubs. It was a shame they didn’t race at Laura this year because we love going there, too.”

As for 2021’s run of luck in major Cup races, Janel said there was no major reason for the stable’s recent good fortune.

“Some years you can win a lot of races and some years you just miss out,” she said.

“We don’t do things differently from year to year but you do find that racing happens in runs.”

The Ryans are hoping that run continues.

The Calcutta for the Cup will be held at the Cooktown Bowls Club on Friday night, with a big crowd expected to bump up the prize pool.

Expect the bidding to be fierce for the Ryan trifecta, but there should be plenty of competition from rival stables in the Far North.

Cape York Weekly 2 November 2021

This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 2 November 2021.

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