Red Ruler is hard held at the line, beating Irish Opera, and Mr Investor. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Without favours during the Melbourne Spring Carnival, Red Ruler (6 B. G. Viking Ruler – Ransom Bay, by Red Ransom) displayed his star qualities at Pukekohe on Wednesday when winning his first start since returning.
Hayden Allen, stable foreman for the John Sargent Racing Stables, said, “It all just went wrong with the wet tracks. Every time we thought he would go a good race it started raining, and he needs a firm track.”
Red Ruler received footing to suit, and in the $20,000 Avondale at Counties over 1400-metres he exhibited attributes that have seen him bank over $1.3 million for owners Ron Arculli, Andrew Meehan and Guy Sargent.
During his recent six-start campaign in Victoria, Red Ruler finished a creditable fourth to So You Think (High Chaparral) in the Caulfield Stakes, and sixth to Maluckyday (Zabeel) in the Lexus, but then found slow footing in the Melbourne Cup to his detriment when finishing back in the field.
With Mark Du Plessis again in the saddle, who was aboard for a wonderful City Of Auckland Cup, Trentham Stakes, and Wellington Cup hat-trick last Summer, Red Ruler was easy through the early stages and still last in the eight horse field with 600m to run.
But when Du Plessis drew him to the outside in the straight his sprint was immediate, and he gobbled up his rivals in a flash before being afforded the luxury of easing down over the concluding stages.
Even under the top weight of 61-kilos the performance by Red Ruler was something to behold.
Irish Opera (Stravinsky) finished two-lengths away in second, with a long-neck to Mr Investor (Exploding Prospect) in third.
His time for the 1400m was 1:22.18.
Remarkably, a minute out from start time Red Ruler was available to be shopped at $13 on the NZ TAB fixed odds market, while showing $7.00 on the tote, before paying $4.50 & $1.70 at the close.
After the race an inquiry was held into the start, which resulted in Mill Duckie (Magic Ring) being declared a scratching as her gate had failed to function properly.
Du Plessis said of Red Ruler, “When I galloped him about 10-days ago he galloped very well. He’s come back very well and in fact he doesn’t even know he’s gone out. 1400m is far short of his best distance, but anything up to 2000m is as good as that, you know.”
He added that John Sargent plans very carefully with Red Ruler and plans it well, and “it goes to show he loves it back home and he’s been very dominant today.”
It is anticipated that Red Ruler will have his next start in the $200,000, Group I, Zabeel Classic, a weight-for-age contest over 2000-metres at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.