Jockey Hugh Bowman has given Ruthven his stamp of approval to chase Cups glory in the spring after his dominant win in the Group One Queensland Derby at Doomben on Saturday.
Bowman turned the Derby into a supreme staying test when he allowed Ruthven to stride to the lead on the home turn and powered to the line 3-3/4 lengths clear of his opposition.
Brad Rawiller aboard runner-up Rockstar Rebel ($15) attempted to follow Bowman but was unable to make up the leeway while Ana Royale ($8) finishing third, three-quarters of a length away.
“It wasn’t what I’d consider a standard ride but I knew I was on a good horse and he was in such a good rhythm I knew a hard-testing Derby was going to be to his favour so that’s what I presented him with,” he said.
“He obviously showed great stamina and he’s an impressive horse. I think you’ll see a lot more of him in the spring time.”
Ruthven gave Bowman his 13th Group One winner in Australia for the season adding to his three victories at the elite level in Hong Kong.
Maher continued his love affair in Group One races at Doomben.
Two years ago Maher won the Stradbroke Handicap with Srikandi when Queensland’s signature sprint was held at Doomben during the reconstruction of Eagle Farm.
Maher praised Ruthven’s toughness to win the Derby, his third attempt at a blue-riband after finishing fourth to Jon Snow in the ATC Derby and second to Volatile Mix in the South Australian Derby.
“We opted to keep him racing because he’s a big raw horse who needed to learn his craft and he’s got better with every start,” Maher said.
After Ruthven galloped at Rosehill last Tuesday with Bowman aboard, Maher was confident the colt was on target to win the Derby.
“His work on Tuesday was sharper than he’s ever done before,” he said.
“Sometimes when they’re deep into a prep it can mean they’re a little over the top but Hughie said his work was outstanding and he really backed it up today.”
Maher won last year’s Caulfield Cup with Jameka who has been sidelined from racing following a bout of travel sickness following her win in the BMW at Rosehill during the autumn carnival.