Prior to the running of the 1200m Ian Reid Sprint at Wagga on Thursday, there was a lot of talk surrounding ‘The Kosciuszko’ hopefuls Another One, Lady Brook, Peyton Place, Jawwaal and Sunrise Ruby.
After Peyton Place, Jawwaal and Sunrise Ruby were scratched, Another One (Gary Colvin) jumped an unbackable $1.70 favourite, ahead of the in-form Lady Brook (Phil Sweeney) that started a $2.70 second favourite, and the two Southern Districts gallopers were expected to battle it out in the $35,000 event.
In the end, neither would emerge victorious, with the Kurt Goldman trained Ruthless Agent flashing home late to win comfortably as a $17 chance, holding off Lady Brook by 2.32 lengths, with Another One finishing third.
The Goulburn trainer said the stable was confident their eight-year-old could win the Wagga feature race, and the 51-start veteran lived up to those expectations, registering his eighth career victory and taking his career earnings to over $275,000.
“I was always confident going into yesterday’s race,” Goldman said.
“He is a bit older now and he has run in some pretty handy races over time. Not many horses win that many races without some sort of ability and he showed that at Wagga.”
It took a handy ride from Winona Costin to win the race, with the pair storming home down the outside after letting early leader Underwood blaze along.
“Winona was convinced we would be on the back of Another One and there would be no speed in the race,” Goldman said.
“I told her how I thought the race would pan out and it worked out just like that.
“I knew we would be outside of Another One at a crucial stage and my horse is always a lot better when we get to the outside and when he got there, he hit the line strongly.”
Having knocked off premier ‘The Kosciuszko’ chances, Ruthless Agent now looks good value at $51 to take out the $1.3 million race at Royal Randwick on October 16, but Goldman explained his last-start winner would be third in his preferred order of entry if slot holders came calling next month.
“To be honest, I’ve not really thought much about The Kosciuszko for him,” Goldman said.
“The Kosciuszko is a unique circumstance with the slot holders and things like that and right now, I would personally put in two of my own horses (Irish Songs and Private Agent) ahead of Ruthless Agent.”
Goldman will let his horses doing the talking on the track ahead of this year’s The Kosciusko though, admitting it was all up to luck when it came to people winning slots and picking trainers and horses.
“In previous years, I’ve deliberately tried to target horses at the race, but it doesn’t seem to matter how good your horses are going, or how bad they are going,” Goldman laughed.
“It seems to be a matter of someone winning a ticket, then they know someone, and they pick a horse.
“I saw that with Irish Songs last year; he won the Wagga Town Plate and was going quite well but was one of the last horses picked.”
If Goldman had to pick one of his horses to take on the race, he was leaning towards Irish Songs, with the six-year-old only beaten three lengths when finishing eighth in the 2020 The Kosciuszko.
“I think going on form, I would have to say Irish Songs. He just has the form on the board at the moment and he has been running in Group and listed races. He isn’t far off from winning a stakes race,” Goldman said.
“If I knew the horse was guaranteed a spot in the race, I could definitely prepare him and have him there right for the day.
“The slot holder last year, he was tossing up between Irish Songs and Private Agent and I ended up doing a few things different with Irish Songs that I wouldn’t have done if he was picked earlier, and in hindsight, it wasn’t the right way and we learned from that.”
Regardless of what happens when slot holders are announced on September 9, if someone does come calling, Goldman hopes to get a charity involved again in 2021, after teaming up with the Ricky Stuart Foundation last year.
“Last year, we both agreed to donate a percentage to Ricky Stuart Foundation and auctioned off the silks that were in the Canberra Raiders colours. I am going to do the same sort of thing this year,” Goldman said.