By Tony Megahey
Anne-Marie Ruttley’s racing education is through the elite and she is upbeat about her first TAB Highway Handicap starter with in form Steel Frost for a $60,000, 1200m episode at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
“I’ve been a long time track-work rider for TJ Smith, Gai Waterhouse, the Hayes stable in Adelaide and then John Size before he went to Hong Kong so it’s been a journey,” Ruttley said.
She has also notched more than a decade as a trainer at an extensive complex at Cobbitty near Camden on the outskirts of Sydney.
“I’ve got a small racing team but mainly pre-training, and it’s ideal because we’ve got 2000 metre turf and sand tracks and we’re in comfortable travelling distance to where we want to race.”
Four-year-old Steel Frost (Bryannbo’s Gift X Horshoe) comes off a strong winning treble at Goulburn, Canberra and Kembla, into a typically in depth TAB Highway race at headquarters.
He’ll carry 57.5kg, is to be ridden by Blake Spriggs and has drawn ideally in barrier three for the class 3 event.
Again multiple Highway winners Matthew Dunn and Matthew Dale head the betting markets as well as contenders from the Rodney Northam, the Dryden- Collings team and Danny Williams.
But Ruttley is confident in her timing for Steel Frost.
“The big positive is he’s doing things wrong with inexperience but still winning really well so with three straight he deserves a chance in town.
“He’s tends to wander about, that’s why we used winkers and he’s finished off strong.
“He’s kept progressing really well and the Kembla win is a decent form race.
“We’ll know more of course on Saturday, but we’re hoping he’ll keep improving and we can go to the Goulburn leg of the Country Championships later this month.”
Ruttley is convinced Steel Frost will be suited over 1200m on the big track as he has been strong over 1400m in his October and November wins.
“He’s had a freshen up, a Warwick Farm trial and another at home so he’s well forward.
“I didn’t consider a claiming apprentice because he’s a big strong type who is still learning and needs a senior rider.”
The race favorites will be the Bennett’s All Summer Long, the Dale’s Super Star Bob who won the last Highway at Randwick on 21 January, and the Northam’s L’Elu.