Spotlight on Red Ruler

18 Aug 2009

Melbourne Spring Carnival contenders beware...


"He's a big strong animal now and this could really be his year."


As told by his successful Matamata-based trainer John Sargent, Red Ruler (NZ) looks poised for what could be his best season to date.


"He's now five and he looks like he could be at his peak this season," said Sargent.


"He's really matured this time in, which is something that would have been helped by all the tripping and travelling of last season."


An exciting type from the get go, Red Ruler (NZ) commenced his 3YO career with four wins from five starts - culminating this win sequence with a merciless win in the Gr. 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie.


"He always had the x-factor, but when he just took off on the field that day, we knew he was a very, very good horse," said Sargent.


Tripped up by a wet track at his following start in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby, Red Ruler (NZ) made his way across the Tasman for recompense in the Gr.1 AJC Derby. 


In a run plauditted for the extra ground covered and the unsuitable heavy underfoot conditions, Red Ruler (NZ) finished just 0.8 lengths in second behind Nom du Jeu (NZ) (Montjeu).


Turning the table on his Montjeu nemesis one season later, Red Ruler (NZ) raced home to split the Gr.1 gallopers Princess Coup and Nom du Jeu in 2008's Gr.1 Kelt Capital Stakes (2040m) at Hastings.


Later that season Red Ruler (NZ) returned to Australia, where he achieved a creditable third in the Gr.2 Sandown Classic (2400m), before going amiss in the Gr.1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).


"He pulled up sore after that race and it turned out he had fractured a wing bone in his nearside hip during the running," said Sargent.


Box rested for 6 weeks before flying home for further box rest, Red Ruler (NZ) has undergone a slow build up for his important 5YO campaign, which commenced last Saturday with a 7th placing in the Gr.2 GG Liston Stakes at Caulfield.

Aware that given his age and the short 1400m trip, that his rivals were likely to be too sharp for him, Sargent was pleased with the outing.


"He was always going to need that run and he was really putting in the big strides in the last 100/200m. Afterwards, his rider Danny Nikolic, who has been riding him in trackwork, was very pleased with the run and he'll be sticking with him at his next start," said Sargent.


"He has pulled up good as gold since. He had a nice blow and will improve a lot with the race."


Wishing to avoid the chance of encountering wet tracks again in the horse's preparation this season, Red Ruler (NZ) returned to his Caulfield station this season within 30 minutes of the Liston.


From here, Sargent has signalled Red Ruler (NZ) will head to the Gr.2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 5, before likely outings in Caulfield's Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 19 and Flemington's Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) two weeks later.


"He'll probably take a lot of improvement again in the Makybe Stakes and will be very competitive at his third start in.  Once through these races, we'll have a better idea of whether we should be heading for either the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate."

Article courtesy of Angelique Bridson, New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing