Rube bridging gap toward Oaks

Rube Bridges (Danielle Johnson) unleashing a big finish to win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Rube Bridges (Danielle Johnson) unleashing a big finish to win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Frustration turned into delight for the connections of NZ Oaks nominee Rube Bridges at Ellerslie yesterday.

Trainer Stephen Marsh and breeder and part-owner Gary Carvill have their sights set on the Gr.1 NZ Oaks at Trentham on March 18 with the daughter of Darci Brahma, but have been at wits end trying to get a race into her since her eye-catching fresh-up run behind Date Night at Ellerslie on December 7.

Their frustration increased as Date Night went on to finish third behind the unbeaten Volpe Veloce in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. “She’s been scratched three weeks in a row through outside draws,” said Marsh.

Rube Bridges again drew an outside marble (14) in yesterday’s $50,000 Mainstream Plumbing & Gasfitting 1400, a special conditions event.

“Gary Carvill and I spoke earlier and we said we can’t scratch again – what are we waiting for,” said Marsh. “We’ve got to get her here for a three-year-old 1500 metres in two weeks then onto Wellington for a stakes race.”

So Marsh and Carvill bit the bullet and took the gamble with Rube Bridges yesterday and thanks to a top ride from Danielle Johnson the gamble paid off.

After being back and wide in the early rush, Johnson improved Rube Bridges to be one-off the fence in ninth position and angled her to the outside on straightening for the run home.

Unwinding down the outside, Rube Bridges still had seven horses in front of her with 200 metres to run but she finished resolutely and went on to win by a length and a half.

“It was a huge run,” said Johnson. “I’ve had some luck from the draw to get one-off.”

Marsh was quick to give Johnson, his partner, the thumbs up on her ride.

“It was a great ride,” said Marsh. “We thought we were going to end up last, but Danielle used her initiative and got in front of a fair few and she (Rube Bridges) was very strong to the line.”

Rube Bridges is raced by Carvell’s Hiwi Lodge in partnership with Balmoral Lodge and is a daughter of Queen To Be, an Australian-bred daughter of King’s Theatre who looked good winning her three-year-old debut over 1200 at Avondale in March 2005.

Queen To Be is a half-sister to Crossyourheart, the Richard Collett-trained speedster who was the top filly on the 2006-07 NZ 2YO Free Handicap, Gotta Have Heart (Gr.2 Sandown Stakes and winner up to 1550m), and Swear, a Group Three sprint winner in Sydney and runner-up in the Gr.1 ATC Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).

Rube Bridge’s third dam is Soleil Rouge, whose wins up to 1900 metres included the Gr.2 Great Northern Challenge Stakes and Gr.3 Rotorua Challenge Stakes.

This is also the family of black-type winners Black Sun (Listed Honda Mile; third Gr.1 Toorak Handicap) and Silky Red Boxer (Gr.2 Japan/NZ International Trophy), Adaline (winner of the Gr.2 Royal Stakes, 2000m, and runner-up in the Gr.1 NZ Stakes and Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic) and All Thrills Too (winner of the Gr.1 Hong Kong Sprint).

Though most of Rube Bridges’ relatives have performed best as sprinter-milers, she gives the impression she could master a more demanding test.

“She’s a very good filly,” said Marsh. “She’s nominated for the Oaks and I think she’ll go over ground, too.”