It was a case of third time lucky in a Group 1 Derby for Ruthven in Saturday’s Queensland Derby at Doomben.
The Ciaron Maher-trained colt registered his maiden Group 1 success when he dominated his rivals in the $600,000 event over 2200m.
It followed a fourth placing in the ATC Derby (2400m) back on April 1 and a second placing in last month’s 2500m Adelaide equivalent.
The son of Domesday had a start at Caulfield in between those Derby runs and Maher said the solid campaign had been the making of him.
“It’s a big credit to the team to keep this horse up who’s run in three Derbies,” Maher said.
“We opted to keep him racing because he’s a big, raw horse and needed to learn his craft. He’s got better with every start.”
Ruthven, the heavily-backed $3.40 favourite, benefitted from a confident ride from champion jockey Hugh Bowman to power away for a 3.75-length win in what was an all-Victorian first four.
The Darren Weir-trained Rockstar Rebel ($15) was second over the line with Stuart Webb’s Ana Royale ($8), the lone filly in the race who was backing up after last week’s Queensland Oaks, three-quarters of a length away third. The Brent Stanley-trained Violate ($16) was fourth.
Bowman had Ruthven beautifully positioned just behind the leaders on settling but gave that up around 800m from the winning post when he pushed forward and was in front before the field swung for home.
The champion jockey, who completed a winning treble with the win and has now won 16 Group 1 races in the past 12 months, took a lot from a track gallop earlier in the week.
“I took confidence in his staying ability and took confidence out of riding him on Tuesday morning,” Bowman said.
“I knew he had a strong will and he’s been known to be a little bit immature, letting horses past him and wanting to chase again, but today I just tried to keep his mind on the job and didn’t he deliver in fine style.”
Ruthven is raced by a group including Colin McKenna, whose colours he wears, and while McKenna will be without Jameka this spring owing to illness, Maher hinted he thinks Ruthven might be able to emulate her and win a Caulfield Cup.
“Whether it’s this year or next year he’ll be there somewhere (in spring),” Maher said of Ruthven, who has now won three of his 10 starts with a further five second placings.
“We’ll give him a nice little break up here and he can get a bit of sunshine on his back and we’ll see him back down (in Melbourne) in the spring.”
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