Greg Ryan aboard Double Fun at Dubbo on Monday. The champion Dubbo rider will be out to win his first Ramornie Handicap when he partners Ollie Vollie in the feature race at Grafton today.There aren’t too many country races leading bush rider Greg Ryan hasn’t won but the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton is one of them.
Nanjing Night Net

Ryan has ridden in the feature sprint on a number of occasions and come close a couple of times but has never managed to crack the event, which became famous in Dubbo racing circles in 2005 thanks to the victory of local champion King Rex.

His closest call was in 2003 when he partnered the Keith Swan-trained Caissa, a $4 favourite, to a narrow second placing behind 80/1 chance Citichy.

Today Ryan gets his chance to break his Ramornie duck when he partners the Sue Grills-trained Ollie Vollie in the $125,000 event.

But it will be no easy task.

Lining up against Ollie Vollie will be the likes of its star stablemate Border Rebel, dual Ramornie winner The Jackal and consistent Sydney performers Youthful Jack and Pinwheel.

Ryan concedes his mount is only a lightweight chance but said he will be out to give the $21 chance every hope.

“I used to go to Grafton every year with Keith Swan when I was basically his stable rider,” Ryan said yesterday.

“The closest I got was Caissa which only just got beat a few years ago.

“But since Keith died I haven’t been going up for the carnival but I’m looking forward to the trip.

“Ollie Vollie hasn’t been racing against this calibre of horse but he has been going consistently in the lower grades.”

Ryan believes Ollie Vollie’s stablemate Border Rebel will be the horse to beat but said he will have to work hard to win the race with top weight of 60kg.

Apprentice Ben Looker will ride Border Rebel despite not being able to claim his allowance in the race, with Ryan saying he was never a chance to ride the boom gelding despite doing most of the riding for the Grills stable over the two-day carnival.

“Border Rebel was no certainty to start in the race but the owner wanted him to and she wanted Ben because he has won on him before,” Ryan said.

“From the tricky barrier I will have to ride Ollie Vollie for luck but you have to be in it to win it and if he is travelling well with 200m to go who knows what can happen.”

Ryan also rides in today’s other feature, the $40,000 Grafton Guineas (1600m), where he will partner the Stephen Lee-trained Nobody’s Johnny, currently rated a $31 chance.

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