By Michael Manley
Top jumps jockey Tom Ryan has had a successful 2021 over the jumps but he is planning on building on that for the rest of the season.
He then took that form to the Oakbank jumps carnival where he rode a treble on the opening day and then on the second day he won the Great Eastern Steeplechase on Spying On You.
He’s since added two wins on Valac at Hamilton and Warrnambool and he also won at Sandown on Out And Dreaming to take his tally of wins to eight for the year from only 27 rides over the jumps this year.
Ryan has got several rides at Warrnambool on Thursday but it’s two horses in particular he’s riding, Social Element and Inayforhay, that he’s hoping could develop into feature race winners later on in the year.
Social Element, is trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, and will make his fencing debut in the opening event, the Roberts One Real Estate Steeplechase (3450 metres) at Warrnambool on Thursday morning.
Social Element had two hurdle starts in 2019 for a win in a maiden hurdle at the Warrnambool carnival and a second to Double Bluff at Sandown Lakeside. Since then he's only had three flat starts and only one this time in which was fourth behind Grand Promenade over 2500 metres at Flemington on June 5.
Social Element has had a long build up to his return to jumping with several trials and Ryan rode him in a 2800 school over fences at Warrnambool on May 21.
“He feels to me like he’s a better chaser than hurdler so I’m excited about seeing him over them,” Ryan said.
“I feel Social Element will go very close. He’s been schooling well and I can’t fault him.”
“It’s his first chase though and he has to give two kilos to American In Paris, who won well at Hamilton. He’ll be the danger but I definitely think he’s up to winning.”
“He’s not as quick as he used to be on the flat. He’s a really good prospect over the fences.”
Ryan will also ride the Paul Preusker trained Inayforhay in the Southwest Equine Veterinary Group Hurdle (3200m) and he said he’s an exciting prospect.
Inayforhay returns to jumps racing after winning his two hurdle races he contested last year which were both at Warrnambool.
“He’s had a couple of flat runs and a couple of trials. That was a good effort when he finished second over 3600m at Bendigo on the flat and there was improvement to come. He’s a good horse and his best is yet to come.”
Ryan explained his run of success by having luck go his way.
“The fellas I’m riding for have a better crop of horses and it flows on from there.”
There are five jumps races at Warrnambool on Thursday consisting of four hurdle races and one steeplechase event.