Trainer Helen Page has breathed a sigh of relief with tough gelding Rudy scraping into the field for the Doomben Cup.
Page has carefully planned Rudy’s campaign around a start in the Saturday’s Doomben Cup (2000m) but those plans looked like they would come unstuck under Queensland’s new ballot conditions for weight-for-age races.
It also brought in to focus Queensland’s lower prize money levels.
Despite having won more prize money ($779,000) than most of the field and having a higher rating, at 102, than many, Rudy was 30th on the order of entry.
The reason was a new ballot system introduced two years ago after the then Gai Waterhouse-trained Pornichet failed to make the field for the Hollindale Stakes.
Prize money earned in the past two years is now the basis for entry to Group races.
Rudy has won only one race in that period but picked up minor cheques on 15 other occasions.
He has earned $167,000 in the past two years, well below some southern horses with worse records.
After a large drop-out rate on Wednesday morning Rudy made the field as number 16.
Page said Queensland owners and trainers were being majorly disadvantaged by the lower prize money in the state.
“They want you to race the better horses here but then they lump them with big weights making it hard to win,” Page said.
“The southern horses can pick up big prize money and then get a head start getting in to our races.
“Good luck to them but it is a worry.
“But we are in now and lets hope it is an omen.”
Rudy is a $26 chance with bookmaker Sportsbet.