Ruthven’s staying ability can help overcome horror South Australian Derby barrier

Caulfield trainer Ciaron Maher is hoping Ruthven’s staying credentials will be enough to make up for a horror barrier draw in the Group 1 $600,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on Saturday.

Jockey Mark Zahra, above, rides Ruthven in the South Australian Derby at Morphettville. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Jockey Mark Zahra, above, rides Ruthven in the South Australian Derby at Morphettville. Photo by Adrienne Bicknell.

Ruthven came up with barrier eighteen in the original draw of sixteen plus four emergencies but with three of the reserves drawing inside gates, the Domesday colt looks likely to jump from gate fifteen.

Ruthven has had some staying experience with a fourth to Kiwi three year old Jon Snow in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby at Randwick on April 1 and Maher was happy with the way the colt ran out the 2400m.

“He’s pretty genuine and was very strong through the line in the ATC Derby. You’d certainly think he’ll stay the trip,” Maher told The Advertiser.

Maher gave Ruthven his final South Australian Derby lead up run in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) at Caulfield on April and said that he has done well since running second to the Danny O’Brien trained Toffee Nose.

“He’s been in great order,” Maher said.

The wide barrier has thrown some uncertainly into race tactics but Maher is privy to race jockey Mark Zahra’s idea of taking a sit back in the field and riding for luck.

“I’m not sure how we’re going to ride him yet,” Maher said.

“Mark has always said he might be best ridden with a sit. He never has — so maybe this is an opportunity. We’ve just got to work out what’s the best thing to do to get the result.”

Ruthven will be wearing the blinkers in the South Australian Derby and Maher is hoping this will help his chances.

“We’ve been putting them on him in track work all preparation waiting for the right time,” Maher said.

“This is one of his target races so we thought this was the race we’d put them on.”

Ruthven is well in contention in the betting for the South Australian Derby at $6 alongside of the Mick Price trained Netherfield at

Melbourne three year old Odeon from the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra stable sits at the top of the market order at $3.30 and is coming off a last start win against the older horses in a 2000m BenchMark 84 Handicap at Caulfield on April 29.

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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