Former Sydney trainer Helen Page relocated to the Gold Coast 18 years ago and only makes the trip down the south if she thinks it is worth it – which isn’t that often.
The last time Page felt like it was worth it was when Doonan won the $1 million Golden Rose 10 years ago. She is bringing Rudy to Sydney to contest the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, which means she must think the four-year-old gelding is in with a fighting chance.
This will be Rudy’s first group level race since running second last in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) back in June. After four months off the gelding returned to finish runner-up in two handicap races at Doomben (where he beat fellow Villiers Stakes rival Sir Moments) before winning the Listed Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1630m) on Saturday, one and a half lengths clear of Grayson Square in second place.
Rudy was one of 17 2014 Villiers Stakes nominations on Monday. Should be make it into the final field it will be the four-year-olds first time running in Sydney.
“I think he is ready to take on those horses,” Page told Sky Racing.
“He will appreciate the bigger track at Randwick more than Doomben. He likes a bit of room.”
Apprentice jockey Luke Tarrant has maintained the ride aboard Rudy after winning the Recognition Stakes but Page is quick to note the apprentice is anything but his title.
“I’m not just bringing an apprentice. I’m bringing Queensland’s leading rider down,” she said.
“It is a big thing for him but he won’t be over-awed by the occasion.
“I’ve spoken to Darren Beadman and he is going to give Luke a few pointers about how to ride Randwick.”
Check out the full list of nominations for the 2014 Villiers Stakes before the final field is released on Wednesday.
Betting markets for the race will open that afternoon at Ladbrokes.com.au so make sure your betting account is up and running.