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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


WEDNESDAY: July 19, 2023: CO-TRAINER Jason Attard believes there are “some nice races ahead” for his progressive four-year-old Ruby Flyer, who took the next step by winning in town today.

Considering the gelding was a late starter and didn’t begin racing until early in this current season, and has now won four of his last five runs, it’s easy to agree with his comments.

Ridden by 1.5kg claimer Zac Lloyd, who got one back on his rival Dylan Gibbons for Sydney apprentice premiership honours, well-backed $2.50 favorite Ruby Flyer was never going to lose the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m) against his own sex once he settled in the “box seat”.

In an all-provincial finish, Hawkesbury’s gelded son of Flying Artie defeated Newcastle’s Olympic Gaze ($21) and Kembla Grange’s Main Stage ($14).

“Ruby Flyer wasn’t broken in when he came to my wife Lucy (co-trainer) and myself as a two-year-old, and we took our time with him,” Attard said.

“He broke in very easily, and I always thought he would be allright.

“He has a lot of the same attributes as his mother. She was very tough, and he is the same.”

Attard, when training solo, prepared Ruby Flyer’s dam Kellyville Flyer, and won six races with her, including three in town, and she was also placed in Happy Clapper’s 2017 Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket.

He is now likely to give the gelding a short break before chasing further successes with him.

“Ruby Flyer can have an easy time at home for a week or two, and go a lap or two in the equine pool each day,” Attard said.

“We can keep a close eye on him, and decide when the time is right to put him back into work.

“Because he hasn’t had a lot of racing to date, I’m sure he has the ability to win some nice races in the future.”

Whilst Ruby Flyer’s last two victories over 1600m – at Newcastle on June 24 and today – have been on good tracks, Attard considers he is even better on rain-affected ground.

“His Mum was a really good wet tracker, and Ruby Flyer’s first two wins were on soft tracks,” he said.

“It’s good to know he can handle both, but he’s definitely better with the sting out of the ground.”

The Hawkesbury conditioner withdrew Ruby Flyer from a Midway Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday when he drew the outside barrier in a big field (coincidentally, today’s second and third placegetters also were absentees), and didn’t hesitate to book young gun Lloyd for today’s assignment.

“Zac rode him when he finished fifth at both his first two runs at Kembla Grange last August and September, and loved the horse,” Attard said.

“He also rode him when he broke through for his first win at Wyong in late April.”

Attard’s wife Lucy Keegan-Attard is spending time with her family in the UK, and he was very complimentary of the manner in which his staff has stepped up in her absence.

“I’ve had great support from our staff, who have done an amazing job,” he said.

. Whilst Ruby Flyer put Lloyd within one win from Gibbons in the premiership, the Novocastrian took a two-win advantage when he landed the closer on his master Kris Lees’ filly Powerful Peg ($6.50).

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