Wet weather doesn’t stop Keith Dryden from landing Good Friday treble

Keith Dryden. Photo: Bradley Photos.

It’s almost as if anything Keith Dryden touches turns to gold, which was the case at Canberra on Good Friday.

Only five races were run and won before Racing NSW stewards called off Thoroughbred Park‘s Good Friday meeting due to heavy rain and safety concerns owing to visibility. However, Dryden was still able to prepare a winning treble. 

He trained a running double to open the program, with Offspring (Jeff Penza, $2.40) proving way too classy in the 1600m Class One Plate when boulting in for a 2.47 lengths win. 

Diamond Star (Danny Beasley, $7.50) then took out the 1200m Class One Handicap for fillies and mares when finding the line firmly and holding on for a tight 0.31 of a length victory. 

In the fifth and final race at Canberra, the well-named and well-supported Lockup The Kittens (Jeff Penza, $6) thrived in the heavy conditions when pulling away for an impressive 0.79 of a length win in the 1200m Class One Handicap for colts, geldings, and entires. 

With only 56kg on his back, Lockup The Kittens was one of the best-backed gallopers on the program, with bookmakers rolling his price in from $15 to as low as $5.50. 

Penza, who booted home a winning double for Dryden, has previously won on Lockup The Kittens, and he believes the heavy conditions were the deciding factor. 

“This horse, I won on him at Wagga on a very trying track, and it was the same sort of conditions at Nowra when he ran a really nice second last prep, and I knew he would get through it, and I just searched for a bit better going today,” Penza said. 

Dryden was thrilled for the owners of their mudlark after his popular victory.  

“He got through it, and I think he’s won another race on the heavy, and we are pretty happy with how he is going, and they are really nice people that own him,” Dryden said. 

“They race for fun, and I think they will be overjoyed.”

The four-year-old was second-up on his home track, and Dryden explained that his galloper was primed for a considerable effort. 

“He most certainly has (performed second-up), and he’s one of those horses that takes a run to come to it, and anyway, I’m really happy with how he is going,” Dryden said. 

The Canberra treble only adds to a fantastic run for Dryden and his team, who have been in rare touch since mid-2022, with the Canberra stable starting just over 300 horses for 50 wins.

The versatile Dream Runner took out the $500,000 Little Dance at Royal Randwick in November, and veteran sprinter Handle The Truth was Group 3-placed in the Concorde Stakes last year and Listed-placed in the Canberra National Sprint last month.

Recently, Eastern Glow won 4 from 8, Trooper Knuckle won 4 from 10, with both gallopers winning Highway Handicaps at Rosehill Gardens in January. 

Additionally, the stable has unearthed impressive youngsters, Vinolass and Sister Moon. 

Vinolass, owned by a ladies’ syndicate, has now started three times for three wins, and Sister Moon is unbeaten after two starts following victories at Moruya and the Sapphire Coast. 

Dryden is off to Nowra on Sunday, with Impending Harmony (Damon Budler) contesting the 1200m Maiden Plate. 

For results from Canberra, click here, and for Nowra’s fields, click here.