Rugged Cross to kick off new season in Winter Challenge

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Back in form galloper Rugged Cross can start the new racing season in the same way he finished off the 2014 – 2015 season when he lines up in the Listed $100,000 Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Rugged Cross is one of three horses Chris Waller has nominated for the Winter Challenge at Rosehill on. Photo by Steve Hart.

Rugged Cross is one of three horses Chris Waller has nominated for the Winter Challenge at Rosehill on. Photo by Steve Hart.

Rugged Cross won the last Stakes race of the season in Sydney when he beat Two Blue in the Listed $100,000 Sydney Markets Limited Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on July 18 and has the unique chance to win the first Stakes race of the new season this weekend.

“He’s no superstar, but he’s a very important horse to our stable,” Waller said following Rugged Cross’ Winter Stakes win.

“They constantly win prizemoney and when you get good draws and a well-timed run they win.

“If they don’t get all of those things they don’t win, but they run a nice race.

“It’s what winter racing is about as well.

“It’s not just about the carnival horses, but this horse also won a restricted race during the Carnival.

“It not only delivers a thrill by winning on a big day and now he’s won a listed race.

“He’s been a very good horse to us.”

The Cape Cross gelding appreciated the heavy track conditions when he beat the equal favourite by a nose and the step back up to 1500m will suit him this week after he recorded a win over the Winter Challenge course and distance back in August 2014.

Rugged Cross is one of three runner’s premiership trainer Chris Waller has entered in the Winter Challenge along with Eigelstein and You’ll Never.

Eigelstein has been close to the money of late with a fourth over the this course and distance two starts back then a third to Kenjorwood in the $85,000 Shoot Out Mile (1600m) at Randwick on July 11.

While You’ll Never followed two thirds at Rosehill and Randwick before being beaten two and three quarter lengths when seventh to Rugged Cross in the Winter Stakes.

Gai Waterhouse has nominated Liberty’s Choice and Spurtonic, the Snowden team of Peter and Paul also have two entries with Disclaimer and Great Esteem while Peter Moody is represented with Noela’s Choice.

The Australian Turf Club has extended nominations for the Winter Challenge until 11am on Tuesday July 28, 2015 after only eleven entries were received at closing time on Monday.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.


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