Ruling ready to go in the Bagot Handicap

The ratings column says Monday’s Bagot Handicap is a jump in class for imported gelding Ruling, but his co-trainer Ciaron isn’t reading too much into that.

Ruling steps up from a 2400-metre benchmark 84 at Caulfield, which he won narrowly, to the $200,000 Listed event over 2800m at Flemington and Maher is backing his progressive stayer in.

Although six years of age, Ruling is the most inexperienced runner in the race with just nine starts and Maher thinks he has more upside than most of his more-exposed rivals, which include veterans Amadea and Regal Power.

“It is a jump ratings-wise, but class-wise probably not,” he said.

“He’s a good horse, it’s just about getting it out of him.”

Jamie Kah will ride Ruling and Maher said the top jockey would need to time her run to perfection aboard the son of Camelot, who loses concentration once he strikes the front.

“If you loop them, he’ll hit the front and have a look, so you’ve got to ride him for luck and it’s always going to be heart in your mouth,” Maher said.

“If you get it (luck), good, because you’re not going to win any other way.”

Ruling is one of two runners for Maher and training partner David Eustace in the Bagot Handicap with Herman Hesse stepping up to a suitable 2800m for the third run of his campaign after finishing third in the 2400m race at Caulfield won by Bagot rival Regal Power.

“He’s a proper stayer, he’s going great, I thought he was a good run last start and 2800 will be no problem but the other horse (Ruling) would have more of a turn of foot,” Maher said of the import who will be ridden by Michael Dee.

Maher and Eustace have the favourite in Monday’s other Black Type race, the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m), and Maher is expecting a big run from Unusual Culture after fourth and second placings at Group 3 level to start her campaign.

“She’s worked through the grades and she’s at a rating now where she’s at that level,” Maher said.

“She’s had a couple of runs back, she’s developed from last prep, and when those mares keep developing they usually keep improving.”

Unusual Culture will be ridden by Craig Williams with the pair to jump from barrier 9 in the field of 13.

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