Helen Page returns to Sydney with Rudy
By Caryl Williamson
SYDNEY, Dec 8 AAP – A quarter of a century after she won the Villiers Stakes with Spot The Rock, Helen Page believes she has the horse to give her another victory in the summer feature.
The former Sydney trainer has been at the Gold Coast for the past 18 years and only makes the trip south if she thinks it will be worth it.
The last time she felt like that was 10 years ago when Doonan came to Rosehill to win the $1 million Golden Rose.
A decade on and Page is bringing the in-form Rudy to Sydney to contest the Group Two Villiers (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I think he is ready to take on those horses,” Page said.
“He will appreciate the bigger track at Randwick more than Doomben. He likes a bit of room.”
The Villiers will be Rudy’s fourth run back from a spell following his unplaced run in the Queensland Derby and he comes to Sydney as the last-start winner of the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben.
He finished second at his previous two starts, beating another leading Villiers contender Sir Moments home on November 1 over 1350 metres.
Page has kept faith with apprentice Luke Tarrant who has ridden Rudy at his past two starts.
“I’m not just bringing an apprentice. I’m bringing Queensland’s leading rider down,” she said.
“It is a big thing for him but he won’t be over-awed by the occasion.
“I’ve spoken to Darren Beadman and he is going to give Luke a few pointers about how to ride Randwick.”
Tarrant has taken his riding to a new level this season and has a seven-win buffer over veteran Jim Byrne in the Brisbane premiership and leads country apprentice Matthew McGillivray by two in the state title.
Rudy was one of 17 entries taken on Monday for the Villiers with 2011 winner Monton the top rater on 107.
The Ron Quinton-trained Monton failed to muster a finishing sprint in the Festival Stakes won by I’m Imposing on November 29 when 11th of the 13 runners.
I’m Imposing is one of three nominations from the Chris Waller stable which has also entered Strawberry Boy and Multilateral, third and sixth respectively in the Festival.