Epsom Handicap 2015 bound Queenslander Rudy showed he was ready for a big spring campaign targeting a Group 1 Sydney win with a winning barrier trial at the Gold Coast this week.
The Helen Page-trained Red Dazzler five-year-old won the opening heat of the Tuesday morning trials at the Gold Coast with a smart two length effort in 59.36 seconds over Toby Edmond’s locally-trained Group 1 JJ Atkins runner-up Sagaronne, who is heading towards the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in November, over 800m.
A winner of seven of his 23 career starts to date, Rudy was last seen running dead last when 14th and beaten over 12 lengths by Leebaz in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on
Anzac Day in late April.
Before that he enjoyed a strong raid on the Sydney autumn features including his brave fourth behind the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick three weeks before.
His smart trial win, which was only slightly slower than 1000m specialist Knight Templar (59.12) in the second heat, showed he was ready to kick off his spring campaign that is aimed towards a start in the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
Rudy’s last turf triumph was at Randwick last December in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m), and Page was pleased with the $600,000 earner’s first trial of the season.
“He pulled up very well. There was no pace in the trial and he got left in front so it was a really good effort,” Page said.
“Rudy will run at Doomben over 1350 metres on August 22. I usually start him first-up in something shorter and he will get plenty of weight.
“But it fits in well with our program.”
Reports from Rudy’s trial winning jockey Matt McGuren were all positive and the hoop is set to retain the ride at Doomben if Page doesn’t opt for an apprentice for a weight claim.
Leading into the Epsom he is scheduled to have two more runs, both in Sydney, with starts planned in the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 5 and the $200,000 Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Golden Rose Day seven days later.
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