MAT Rue has driven plenty of winners in his time, but on Wednesday night when he added yet another success to his tally, it was a result he cherished.
It was by no means the biggest win on a resume which includes a Miracle Mile, but it was one that rewarded plenty of hard work.
It came with Carlas Angel, a four-year-old mare trained by his wife Gemma Rue at Georges Plains.
“That was a very pleasing win for me and Gemma because she’s not an easy horse to train and she does test our patience,” Rue said after guiding Carlas Angel to victory in the Stu Valentine 4 Bloodstock Ins Pace (1,730 metres).
“Not only that, but she does a lot wrong.
“So it’s a very pleasing result and for a new group of owners who have have come on board, that was her first start for them tonight.
“It was six to eight months since she last raced that they came on board and when they did, I told them it was going to be a long road.
“But they were kind enough to come on board and trust my word.”
Rue, who also thanked breeder Mark Denyer for “never doubting” himself and Gemma, took Carlas Angel’s record to two wins from five starts with Wednesday’s result.
It came as the Rock N Roll Heaven x Serene Angel mare had her first start since placing a distant sixth at Bathurst on April 7 last year.
Despite the long break from racing, Carlas Angel started as the $6 second elect, with the Steve Jones trained Panther Star the $1.60 favourite.
Driver John O’Shea decided not to battle for the lead with Panther Star once the green light was given and dropped back to the rear.
The favourite was second last on the bell and had dropped back to last with 800m to run. That was to prove telling.
Shazam Shannon found the lead and following a 29 seconds opening split, dropped the tempo off for a 32.2 second sectional.
That allowed Allnight Raid to make a three-wide move into the death seat on the bell, then into the back straight, Star Player also punched forward from the rear.
Rue watched those moves as he settled his mare one out and three back, before pulling out three wide with around 450m to run.
As they came off the back in 29.2, Rue got Carlas Angel on the back of Star Player. He then went even wider to be the fifth in a line that challenged for the lead at the top of the straight.
Panther Star joined them as he fast made up ground, but Carlas Angel denied the favourite as she finished 2¼m clear.