Ryan chases jumps glory on home turf with Universal Sound

FORMER Warrnambool jumps jockey Simon Ryan had no luck when he rode in the Brierly or Grand Annual steeplechases. But he’s hoping his fortunes change as a trainer when he saddles up Universal Sound in both feature races this week.

Warrnambool trainer Simon Ryan has Universal Sound on target  for the Brierly and Grand Annual steeplechases.

Warrnambool trainer Simon Ryan has Universal Sound on target for the Brierly and Grand Annual steeplechases.

Ryan, 40, who had nine rides in the Brierly for five minor placings and eight rides in the Grand Annual for three falls and fourth on two occasions, said he was looking forward to both events.

“I rode 50 jumps winners in my career but could not win one of the big ones at Warrnambool,” he said.

“I would have loved to have won one of those features, especially the Grand Annual. It’s the race that every jumps jockey wants to win.

“Universal Sound has had two jumps starts. He’s showing a bit of promise but (today) is his toughest task. It’s a quality field in the Brierly. I want to see him hitting the line hard in the Brierly if he is to go down the path of running in the Grand Annual.”

Ryan has been patient with Universal Sound to get him into the Brierly and Grand Annual steeplechases.

“He injured an off-side ligament in his knee last year and we gave him a good break and our aim was always the Grand Annual but we’ve got to get over (today),” he said. 

“I reckon he’ll have a lot of local support and the support will be bigger if he runs in the Grand Annual on Thursday.”

The hobby trainer said he was happy for the owners of Universal Sound, who may have a runner in both feature steeplechases.

The Gavin family, from Toolong, paid $15,000 for the eight-year-old with a jumps career in mind.

“The Gavins are local owners who have been to the Warrnambool carnival for years so they’re looking forward to it,” he said. “There are about 10 of them involved and they bought him after he had raced for Bede Murray in New South Wales. Universal Sound is not very big but he handles wet tracks,  which is a bonus. He’s done a lot of schooling around Warrnambool, which is an added plus to his chances.”

Paul Gallagher will ride Universal Sound in the Brierly while Warrnambool-based jumps jockey Shane Jackson has been booked to ride in the Grand Annual.