Ryan buckles up

BLACKCAVIAQuirindi trainer Peter Mills was happy when champion country jockey Greg Ryan answered the call to partner Buckle Me Up at Narromine tomorrow. The four-year-old gelding, abrother to Mills dual Tamworth Cup winner Gold Buckle, lines up in the Narromine USMC Diggers Cup, a Benchmark 58 handicap over 1600m.

“Greg was happy to ride him. With added fitness and Greg aboard, I think the horse will be thereabouts tomorrow,” Mills suggested.

Like Gold Buckle, Buckle Me Up was bred by Mills and his wife Kym, who race the four-year-old by Youthful Jack out of Harvest Time.

The gelding is the third generation from the family, Harvest Time winning four races and Buckle Me Up’s grand dam, La Maree, also winning four times.

Buckle Me Up has recorded two wins and three placing’s from nine starts.

Mills had the gelding entered at Armidale Monday. The meeting was washed out.

Mills, a horse breaker who has a small team in work, was disappointed with Buckle Me Up’s first two runs this campaign before scoring an unexpected win in a 1450m Benchmark 55 event on his home track on February 25.

“Dale Spriggs rode an inspired race to win at Quirindi,” Mills recalled. “Buckle Me Up paid over $40 on the tote.

“Since then he’s put in two good runs at Armidale and Scone.”

Buckle Me Up was beaten a half head at Armidale (1400m) on March 12 and finished third to Queens Are Trumps and Zamunda over 1600m at Scone on March 29.

“I don’t think he ran out the mile (1600m) at Scone,” Mills said. “Part of that was my fault. I think I’d been a bit light on him.

“He’s in gear tomorrow, added fitness has helped.”

Mills agreed Buckle Me Up’s on pace racing pattern normally suits horses at Narromine.

“Yes that should help,” Mills said. “I’ve been happy with his work since Scone.

“He’s a clean winded animal, sound and very easy to train. At the moment he feels good and bright under you.

“I’ve always though he’s a mile type horse. We’ll test the waters again tomorrow and see what happens.”