Five of the best for Dryden at Canberra

Keith Dryden. Bradley Photos.

For the second time in his storied training career, Keith Dryden has prepared five winners on the same program, with the veteran trainer dominating at his home track of Canberra on Friday.

Dryden kicked off his day with a win, with Sky Diamonds (Brendan Ward, $1.90) taking out the 1400m Class Two Handicap before Offspring (Alysha Collett) made it two wins for the stable when guiding Offspring ($1.26) to victory in the 1400m Maiden Plate. 

Dryden then trained the final three winners on the nine-race-program to bring up his five winners, with Yesterday’s Gone (Jeff Penza, $5.50) winning the 1000m Benchmark 60 Handicap, Wichita Warrior (Billy Owen, $5.50) taking out the 1600m TAB Federal Benchmark 70 Handicap, while Fangela (Molly Bourke, $3.20) won the 1200m Open Handicap. 

The Canberra trainer was quick to deflect all praise back onto his hard-working staff. 

“It is a great result for us and from the effort through to the track work riders to my ground staff,” Dryden said.  

“It all relies on them. I just sit around and give orders and watch what’s happening and they do the work and without them I wouldn’t be as successful as I am.”

The Canberra trainer, who took out his trainer’s license in 1983, landed his first winner with Movari at Canberra a year later, and he has since gone on to train noted gallopers Tumble, Roll On By, Coolroom Candidate, Into The Night and Handle The Truth.

Dryden confirmed it was the second five-win haul of his career, and that his stable was always striving to go one better. 

“In the early part of my career at Bungendore, I had five (winners) one day and I had the favourite in the last and it ran off at the corner and ran second,” Dryden laughed.  

“We are always endeavouring to (be better) but as I said, next month you might give me Tulloch or something like that and I wouldn’t train a winner.

“It comes in circles and roundabouts, but we can only keep backing up every day like every other trainer does. 

“They back up, put the effort in and you go away dejected sometimes and then you go away with a day like this. I think we might go out and have something to eat tonight and have a couple of quite drinks.”

Ordinarily, when a trainer dominates a meeting like Dryden did at Canberra, one or two jockeys will benefit, but incredibly, Dryden used five different hoops on Friday, and he explained why. 

“I try to do that because jockeys are so busy these days, they can’t ride work for you, so I try to spread it around a little bit and I make sure the guys that do ride a little bit get a decent ride,” Dryden said. 

“But I do spread it around a bit and in this day and age, it’s all about putting the best jockeys on for the best occasions. 

“There are no stable jockeys anymore so I just like to make sure we can attain the best jockeys we can get.”

The winning haul caps off what has been an exciting little period for Dryden, who was honoured with Life Membership of the Canberra Racing Club (CRC) earlier this month. 

For full results from Friday’s meeting at Canberra, click here.