4-year-old Ruthven has finished 3.5L 7th behind Kingsfield in the Tai Mo Shan Handicap over 1400m at Sha Tin on New Years day.
Ruthven was a Group 1 winner and had 3 wins and 5 minor places to his name in 10 starts under Ciaron Maher, earning $763,900 before being sold to Hong Kong mid-2017.
The talented stallion was purchased by leading bloodstock agent George Moore for owner Albert Hung, who was the previously the owner of ill-fated Triple Crown star Rapper Dragon.
Now trained by John Moore (father of George Moore), Ruthven was unplaced in 2 trials before making his debut on Monday, recently finishing 9th over 1200m on the 22nd of December in a trial that included local stars Lucky Year and Beat The Clock.
It was the third go for the 4-year-old over 1400m, winning at Geelong in October 2016 before finishing 5th behind Oak Door at Caulfield in February last year. His time of 1:22.77 on Monday was better then both of his previous goes at the distance however, running almost a second faster than his 1:23.54 at Caulfield in the previous attempt.
It is well known however that the Queensland Derby winner does his best work over a further distance, with jockey Tommy Berry conceding pre-race that he would be better for the run from this point forward.
“He’s a very nice horse,” jockey Tommy Berry said at Sha Tin on Friday.
“John has a few very nice types and Easy Go Easy Win won well the other day, but Ruthven and Good Standing are probably the two of his that stand out at the moment.
“He’s probably going to be short of his best at the 1400 metres, he’s going to be better over further, and he’ll take a lot out of the run fitness-wise. We’re pleased with the way he’s come along and we’ve elected to put the blinkers on at the 1400 just to keep him as sharp as we can,” he said.
Ruthven will now prepare for the four-year-old series, culminating with the 18 million dollar Hong Kong Derby over 2000m on March 18. The series also includes January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) and the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) a month later.