Nov 12, 2017
It did not take long for the talented Oncidium Ruler to strike form this time in, the tough six-year-old finding the line in determined style at Flemington on Saturday.
Stepping up to 2000m having finished towards the rear over 1700m when resuming, Oncidium Ruler travelled sweetly back in the field for Beau Mertens, suited by a solid pace.
"They went a bit quicker than we thought they would," Mertens said, "and we got a lovely run through. He travelled into the straight really nicely and when we got that clear running he really let down nicely."
Whilst Oncidium Ruler has always improved second up, the win was somewhat of a pleasant surprise with Michael Kent noting that "he was very plain first up and I thought he might have needed one more."
A horse who has always improved with racing, Oncidium Ruler has the Ballarat Cup in two weeks time as his next aim with the Pakenham Cup after that the main focus of his spring/summer campaign.
"Today was the obvious stepping stone," Kent said. "And the pace was strong enough for him to outstay them, that is what won him the race."
"Improving off a fresh run is his usual pattern, he is a bit of a duffer until he gets up in distance, he is a real stayer."
"The Pakenham Cup is going to suit him down to the ground, 2500m on a big sweeping track. And obviously if he goes well there we can press onto the Bagot."
Mertens was delighted to win his first Flemington Cup Week winner, especially as it was for his master - "my apprenticeship is coming to an end but it has been a really good journey," he said, "I would not be here without Michael so it is great to ride a winner during the carnival for him."
Bred and raced by Nigel and Meredith Berry with a group of friends and stable clients, Oncidium Ruler has now won five races and over $275,000 in stakes. A son of Strategic, he is out of the Zabeel mare Princess Regina from the family of classy stayers The Bandette, Prince Majestic, De Montfort and Blood Brotha.
A great granddaughter of the NZ Oaks and two times NZ Cup winner Princess Mellay, Princess Regina produced a Helmet filly in mid-October and her yearling colt is also by that Darley stallion.