Gai Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge is named for one of the most famous horses to race in Australia. Rudy Lodge is named for the horse closest to Helen Page’s heart.
Until Rudy came along, Page’s Gold Coast stable of 20 years had no name and while he will never reach the heights of Tulloch, Page is confident the five-year-old can etch his name on the Group One honour roll in Saturday’s Epsom Handicap.
“Until Rudy came along, the stable had no name but we thought he deserved it,” Page said.
The winner of the Group Two Villiers over the Randwick 1600m last summer, Rudy finished a creditable fourth in the Doncaster Mile behind heavyweights Kermadec, Real Impact and Royal Descent.
He is an $11 chance in the Epsom to give Page her first Group One win with Winx the dominant favourite to bring up Chris Waller’s half century.
While Page acknowledges it won’t be easy, she also knows Rudy won’t let her down.
“The Epsom has been the long-term plan,” she said.
“He always runs well and even though it won’t be a wet track, I think he goes just as well on top of the ground.
“He is a horse which hasn’t been knocked around and he has responded.”
Kerrin McEvoy, who rode Rudy to a third in the Tramway Stakes and second in the Bill Ritchie, will sit out this weekend’s racing through suspension.
Page had no hesitation recalling champion Queensland apprentice Luke Tarrant who rode him to his Villiers win.
“Luke knows the hors well so it won’t be a problem,” she said.
Although Page doesn’t have a Group One win beside her name, she is no stranger to racing at the elite level.
In 1991, when she was still training at Warwick Farm, she saddled up Magnolia Hall who ran third to Let’s Elope in the Melbourne Cup and in 2004, Page brought Doonan to Sydney to win the $1 million Golden Rose in 2004 when the race had no Group status.
Her husband John trained Royal Sovereign to win the Victoria Derby, AJC Derby and Queensland Derby in 1964. Royal Sovereign is one of just three horses to complete the treble with the other two – Silver Sharpe and Tulloch – trained by Waterhouse’s father, the late TJ Smith.