Carnival Test For Undefeated Gelding

Mark Newnham is not getting carried away by the unbeaten record of three-year-old Willinga Ruffio but he is confident the horse will reach greater heights than Sydney winter grade.

The son of accomplished sire Dundeel will chase his third win from as many starts in the Furphy Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill on Saturday, a race Newnham says will tell him whether the gelding is ready for a sterner test sooner rather than later.

“Saturday will tell us whether he is a spring horse or an autumn horse, as in will he be quite ready to take on better company in the spring, or will he need another preparation getting through his grades before we aim towards some better races in the autumn?” Newnham said.

“He’s a decent horse.

“He was quite physically and mentally immature. It has taken a while, but he always showed some talent, so I don’t mind being patient with those type of horses.”

Willinga Ruffio took out a 1500m maiden on debut at Hawkesbury last month then made the leap to Saturday city grade with victory over 1800m at Rosehill.

It is a rapid progression few horses can manage, and while Newnham isn’t sure how strong the opposition were last start, he says his charge could not have been more impressive.

“They were pretty much Class 1 horses but he did a very good job and he ran good figures, so he has certainly got above-average ability,” he said.

“I wasn’t convinced going into that run whether I would run him again or give him a little break.

“I wanted to see how he did and he’s come on really well. His work has been very good, he is eating well, he’s held his weight so every indication is that he has improved.”

Apprentice Tyler Schiller has partnered Willinga Ruffio to his two wins and retains the ride on Saturday.

– RAS NewsWire

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