Trainer Stefan Vahala wasn’t flying too high when he decided to set Aztec Ruler for the G2 WA Guineas (1600m) at last year’s Ascot summer carnival.

The 3yo son of Scenic Lodge sire Universal Ruler showed potential plus winning his first two starts at Belmont in July 2022 but ongoing leg and hoof injuries restricted him to just the one start in the next twelve months.

Aztec Ruler (Photo / Western Racepix) has finally returned to full health and Vahala harnessed that latent promise with a rewarding three-length victory in the Quayclean Hcp (1400m) at Belmont on Saturday.

“He had a foot abscess and then got a septic knee which needed surgery.  But it’s all good now and we are on top of his feet issues.

“He couldn’t be going any better and he’s got a brilliant turn of acceleration.  We had a few enquiries this time last year but he’s not for sale.  A few of the owners have been in the game for a while and they don’t want to let a good one go.”

Aztec Ruler (4g Universal Ruler – I Love Rubies by Rubiton) was bred and sold for $40,000 by Quanah Park owners Rene & Trish des Bouvrie at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions.  His dam is a half-sister to G2 MVRC Crystal Mile winner Testa My Patience (Testa Rossa) and Singapore Triple Challenge winner Ninetyfive Emperor (Rory’s Jester).

Saturday’s victory boosted his earnings to $278,370 including Westspeed Bonuses of $111,650 for a syndicate managed by Melbourne-based Andrew Biacsi.  They also race the Vahala-trained $220,000 earner Universal Pleasure (Universal Ruler).

“He’s had his troubles but chimed in and finished strongly today,” winning jockey Chris Parnham confirmed.  “The speed was hot and he peeled out and probably hit the front too early.”

Universal Ruler was runner-up to Playing God among active stallions for the WA sires’ premiership in 2022-23 and Aztec Ruler can keep him high on the local ladder with well-deserved feature wins this season.

He sires stock that improve with age and is an appealing choice for breeders at a $7,500 (plus GST) service fee.  For bookings or further information, please contact Scenic Lodge General Manager Jeremy Smith on (08) 9571 0155 or 0419 943 356.