ANNECY came within inches of success at Orange’s Towac Park on Saturday after finishing second best in a thrilling tussle with Global Rocket.
Annecy ($3.10 favourite), trained by Bathurst’s Don and Andrew Ryan, went stride for stride with Global Rocket ($3.50) in the closing stages of the Benchmark 61 Handicap (1,400 metres) and officials had to resort to a photo finish.
Towards the end of the race Global Rocket appeared to have got Annecy’s measure before the Bathurst-trained mare, ridden by Greg Ryan, found another gear to put herself back in winning contention.
The pair were in a world of their own down the home straight. Third placed Zaveena ($11) was more than four and a half lengths away in third.
It wasn’t quite enough to get the win but Andrew Ryan liked what he saw.
“The other horse got in front of her but she fought back. We were pretty happy with the way she went,” he said.
“Last preparation she was racing against easier horses so that’s what she was picking up the wins. Now she’s up in a better grade, but she’s starting to put it together.
“Greg said before the race his plan was to go wide on the turn and it nearly worked. When you put a rider like him on you don’t give him too many instructions.”
Annecy picked up all three of her career wins last preparation and since returning to the track in November had failed to find a placing until Saturday’s race.
However, last start saw the Sebring mare take on a Highway Handicap race in Rosehill where she finished eighth against some strong company.
As for where Annecy will head next, Andrew Ryan isn’t ruling out a big money race.
“We haven’t given a whole lot of thought to where she’ll go but we might have a look at the Country Championships,” he said.
“Originally we thought she might have been a bit dour for it but after the way she ran on Saturday I think she could do it.
“With that sort of prizemoney it’s a pretty big carrot. The heats this year at $150,000 means it’s something you’ve got to consider. That’s a lot of money in anyone’s book.”
There’s plenty of time for the Ryans to see how Annecy pulls up from Saturday’s run before assessing her plans.
The 2018 Western heat of the Country Championships will be held in Dubbo on March 25.