Jockey Noel Rudland hopes his judgement is spot on after he elected to ride Rive Gauche in the $50,000 XXXX-Gold Carnarvon Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
Rudland passed up the opportunity on Me Hungi despite combining for a tantalising second in last fortnight’s Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m).
From near last they almost claimed an unlikely victory but standing in their path was stable mate, This Cat Rocks, who prevailed by just under a length.
According to Rudland there is very little that separates Rive Gauche and Me Hungi, but it was loyalty to trainer, Peter Dellar, that swayed his decision.
“They are both different horses with one who goes forward and the other back,” said Rudland.
“Me Hungi probably suits my style but he is one of the laziest horses I have ridden.
“He definitely is in with a chance especially if there is pace in the race.
“Rive Gauche was good in the Broome Cup when third.
“You would think that is good enough for a Carnarvon Cup.
“However, this field is stronger than I first imagined.
“There is not much between at least six of the starters.
“But Peter has been good to me and in the end it was a sense of loyalty.”
Rive Gauche earned good wins when under the banner of previous trainer, Justin Warwick, in Perth but the son of Zabeel has yet to break his maiden tag since linking up with Dellar in June.
Rive Gauche’s north-west campaign has yielded five minor finishes from eight starts including third placings in the Broome Cup (2200m) and Roebourne Cup (2200m) respectively.
The seven-year-old drops a healthy 5 ½ kg on his last start second to Bicol Express and in a field of 14 starters he will jump from gate 10.
“The barrier might seem awkward but I would prefer to be out there to be honest,” said Rudland.
“For whatever reason the inside pad at Carnarvon is not where you want to be.
“It’s just too heavy and you can get bogged down especially late in the day when the cup is run.
“But the key is to have pace in the race and to get him to settle.”
Rive Gauche can deliver Dellar with his third Carnarvon Cup after previous wins to Great Wall Of China (2013) and Chaparder (1987).
RWWA: Julio Santarelli