May 31, 2018 Michael Court
SOMETIMES being the third choice isn’t all that bad.
If you don’t agree, then just ask former Miracle Mile-winning reinsman Mat Rue, who has picked up the plum drive on Majordan after a phone call from trainer Kevin Pizzuto this week.
Actually Rue thought he was playing a joke on him when he sked if he would like to drive the Newcastle track-record holder in Saturday night’s $20,000 Clubmenangle.com.au Pace at Menangle.
With regular reinsman Todd McCarthy holidaying in Europe after last weekend’s Elitloppet, that was Pizutto’s first choice out of the way.
Todd’s brother Luke has been happy to fill in for the Pizzuto stable and set a track record winning with Majordan in last weekend’s Newcastle Mile.
Yet as the regular reinsman for the Craig Cross stable, Luke is required for Mach Doro on Saturday night, leaving the Majordan vacancy open and for Rue to jump into the hotseat.
“I can’t wait,” said the man who stunned Australia when he won the Miracle Mile with Baby Bling in 2013.
“I have never been a permanent driver for Kevin but have driven for him plenty of times when I was living in Sydney and I still had my claim.
“I drove quite a number of winners for him at Menangle five or six years ago but now and again we’ve had a hit-and-run type of mission.
“We ran second with Freyberg here at Bathurst a few years ago in the Shirley Turnbull Memorial and I think I drove Freyberg in the Len Smith Mile on one occasion too so there have been plenty of times when Kevin’s given me an opportunity.
“I was getting a horse ready to go to the trials when Kevin rang and when he asked me to go down I thought he was kidding for a second – it was a great surprise and I’m really looking forward to it now.”
Rue said Majordan just kept stepping up and getting better.
“I can remember before he went to Kevin he won at Menangle going 1:50 and he raised a few eyebrows that night and he’s just gone on from there and keeps doing the job,” said Rue.
“The night he went 1:48 Todd [McCarthy] didn’t appear to be even having to drive the horse right out and at Newcastle he was super impressive again.
“This week is probably his biggest test to date and although he is drawn better than My Field Marshal we are probably going to have to produce a career-best run to beat him.
“I’m really looking forward to it to be honest and it is going to be a great race and fun to be a part of.
“It should be a quick time whoever wins it. Top speedsters racing over a mile will make for a really good race.”