Universal Ruler continues to keep the winners coming with No Surrender and Rulee completing an interstate city double on Wednesday leading into an awesome display by Aztec Ruler at Belmont on Saturday.
The winning trio sent the Scenic Lodge stallion back to the top of WA sires’ premiership from Gingerbread Man. The Yarradale Stud resident had overtaken him in a typical early-season shuffle last week.
Universal Ruler’s well-named sprinter-miler No Surrender was under siege in the Ladbroke It! Hcp (1400m) at Sandown’s midweek meeting but refused quit under Mark Zahra and a 61kg leveller. A noted front-runner, he had disappointed first-up a fortnight ago when the Lindsay Park brains trust decided to settle him midfield in the race won by Terrestar.
“Mark wanted to be more prominent today and the horse proved we got it wrong last start,” co-trainer Ben Hayes confessed. “He relished being back on the speed.”
Zahra said No Surrender (pictured) also felt a bit round in that first-up loss. “I was much happier in the run today and he found a nice kick on the home turn.
“He’s a decent horse and luckily the post came soon enough.”
No Surrender is raced by an ownership group headed by Aaron Henwood and was having his second start for Lindsay Park’s Ben, Will & JD Hayes.
He had won four 3yo races at Ascot as a homebred for Impressive Racing’s Darren McAuliffe and he also saluted twice at Bendigo for Melbourne trainer Jack Laing.
He’s the final foal of Dark Attack (Dylan Thomas) and has overall earnings through $350,000. The dam’s half-brother Cohort (Scenic) completed a Stakes winning double in the 2008 Belmont Guineas and Belmont Classic.
Universal Ruler 6yo mare Rulelee prevailed an hour after No Surrender in the Mrs Mac’s Hcp (1200m) at Belmont. She is prepared by Gold Front trainer Sue Olive for owner-breeders Glen & Jan Kettlewell. They stand Leonardo Da Hinchi (Hinchinbrook) at Gold Front Thoroughbreds and Rulelee already has two younger half-brothers by him from their dam Leenornie (Oratorio).
Aztec Ruler might have been giving his rivals a tidy start at Belmont on Saturday but he gathered them up and put them to the sword in the Perth Racing Now Hiring Crowd Controllers Hcp (1400m).
The Stefan Vahala-trained stable star has a 50% winning strike-rate since breaking his maiden on debut at Belmont in July 2022. “He was a long last and Chris (Parnham) was obviously more relaxed than me,” Vahala joked. “I was worried when he still hadn’t pressed the button well into the straight but he rode a perfect race.
“I will put him away after a 1600m race in three weeks,” Vahala added. “I’m not tempted to keep him going for the Railway Stakes. I don’t think he would do himself justice in a Group 1 this early.
“He’s only raced 8 times and is not long recovered from a knee injury in a paddock accident at Xmas. We won’t be taking any chances with him.”
Aztec Ruler was bred and sold for $40,000 by Quanah Park owners Rene & Trish des Bouvrie at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions. Saturday’s victory boosted his earnings to $342,560 including Westspeed Bonuses of $132,000 for a syndicate managed by Melbourne-based Andrew Biacsi. Universal Ruler sired him from I Love Rubies (Rubiton) who is a half-sister to G2 MVRC Crystal Mile winner Testa My Patience (Testa Rossa).
Universal Ruler (Scenic) sires stock that improve with age and he’s value-for-money 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.