Trainer Ciaron Maher is expecting Ruthven to peak for Saturday’s Group 1 $600,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben and turn the tables on arch rival Volatile Mix.
Ruthven ran a gallant second to Volatile Mix in the Group 1 $600,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 13 and Maher is hoping to reverse the placings after the Darren Weir trained colt drew barrier twenty in the original draw but is likely to jump from the outside gate in the sixteen horse field if all five emergencies fail to gain a start.
“He was super in Adelaide, I thought he improved, he had to do quite a bit of work from a wide gate and was still very good through the line,” Maher told racing.com.
“Just with each run, he is that type of horse who should keep improving.
“There wasn’t a lot between them in Adelaide and he (Volatile Mix) has barrier 20 this week, he will need luck from out there, I would say both horses would prefer 2400m on a bigger track but it is what it is and we will see what happens on Saturday.”
This year’s Queensland Derby has been transferred to Doomben from its traditional home at Eagle Farm after the track raced well below par on Kingsford-Smith Cup Race Day which meant the distance had to be reduced from 2400m to 2200m because of the different configuration of the Doomben circuit.
Ruthven will be lining up in his third Derby after running fourth to Jon Snow in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Ruthven drew barrier nine in the original draw for the Queensland Derby but will jump from gate eight and will be ridden for the first time by Hugh Bowman.
Bowman replaces Mark Zahra who is sticking with Stuart Webb’s filly Anna Royale and the leading Group 1 winning jockey got a feel of the Domesday colt in a gallop at Rosehill on Tuesday morning.
“Hughie sat on him on Tuesday, he galloped on the course proper at Rosehill, the work was very sharp, he sat off the stablemate and was very strong through the line,” Maher said.
Ruthven has had plenty of support in the betting since the final field for the Queensland Derby was declared on Wednesday and is now the $4.80 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au on Friday morning.
Kiwi three year old Shocking Luck has eased slightly to be the second pick at $5.50 with Volatile Mix on the third line of betting at $7.