Sometimes, champion bush jockey Greg Ryan even surprises himself.
The veteran hoop chalked up a 10th Gilgandra Cup on board Artistic Beauty on Sunday, extending a love affair with the Gilgandra Jockey Club that began over two decades ago.
In fact, Ryan’s won that many times at Gilgandra he can’t remember his first.
“It’s been a good race to me. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good rides over the years. Won with some pretty handy horses,” Ryan said, his maiden Gilgandra Cup coming with Top Sodbuster in 1995.
“I’ve been fortunate to have so many good rides.
“I wouldn’t have won anywhere near that many anywhere else.”
As the Dubbo-based jockey says, Ryan’s success at Gilgandra is unprecedented.
Since that first cup win in ‘95 on board John Lundholm’s champion gelding, Ryan has essentially won the main race every second year.
He won in 1996 with Satin Reserve then between 1998 and 2004 won five feature races – Double The Ton (1998), Northern Glow (2000), Nepelle (2001), Antonia’s Music (2002), Shagny Lover (2004).
His next triumph was on Tracey Bartley’s General Sniper in 2011 before Freton netted Ryan a ninth cup win in 2013.
Cameron Crockett’s Artistic Beauty made it a perfect 10 on Sunday, and Ryan did it with a familiar formula.
“There’s a few things you can’t do over the mile there at Gil … you come from the back. I’ve won a couple of cups leading but mainly it’s from the back,” he added.
Aside from guiding Artistic Beauty to victory in the main, Sunday’s meeting was an eventful one for Ryan.
The mercury touched 43 degrees at Gilgandra, but Ryan believes the conditions were ok.
“It was hot but I ridden there when it’s been three or four degrees hotter,” he said.
While, in the third, Ryan was tossed from Lord Tardy and suffered leg bruising and a sore head, but not enough to scratch him from the cup.
“(Lord Tardy) jumped well and started to show a bit of speed ... he was in full flight. Then dropped his head and bucked, and did so strongly,” Ryan recalls.
“I said (to the stewards) give me 10 minutes to get me bearings back. I didn’t have a ride in the next race so gave me a bit of time to limber up.”
Ryan will again be in action at Muswellbrook on Friday.