Star young harness racing reinsman Mat Rue has realised a dream.
Rue, 23, has been booked to drive star mare Baby Bling in Sunday's Gr.1 $750,000 SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle for trainer Belinda McCarthy.
The McCarthy stable are represented by three runnersincluding race favourite Excel Stride (Luke) plus in-form pacer Mach Alert (John) in the invitational event.
"This is a dream come true. I was shocked to get the phone call but I plan to make the most of it, I was first emergency last time with Garnet River but this is a definite this time around." Rue said.
The highly skilled horseman has been based in Queensland with his partner Gemma Hewitt over the past four months heading up the satellite arm of the McCarthy operation with great success.
Prior to heading to the sunshine state, Rue had driven 11 winners in Sydney this season, which was relatively slow by his standards after driving 110 winners the previous season which included 42 metropolitan winners.
But, since being based in Brisbane, Rue has rapidly climbed the Queensland premiership ladder and currently sits a close fifth in the Albion Park metropolitan premiership race with 15 winners while the likes of Pete McMullen, Bart Cockburn, Shane Graham and Grant Dixon are marginally in front of him currently.
"I was presented with a great opportunity by Luke and Belinda to operate the Brisbane stable and I've enjoyed it immensely, the training aspect has been super because I've learned so much and continue to learn.
Driving on the smaller tracks again has been very enjoyable also, Queensland boast so many skilful drivers who could compete anywhere in the world, so the competition has been challenging.
I've been fortunate to drive some nice horses that were on very good marks while here in Queensland, which has made a big difference in the success that I've enjoyed for sure."
Rue hasn't allowed himself the time to sit and ponder the form for Sunday's big event, preferring to concentrate on the task at hand here in Brisbane.
"I'll start looking at the form and speed maps later in the week, there's no point getting myself bogged down with possible and probable plans at this stage considering we've got plenty of runners up here before Sunday.
I've actually driven Baby in trials and trackwork prior to coming north so I do know some of her traits so I'm not completely foreign to her, Robbie (Morris) has driven her a treat lately so I'm grateful for the opportunity and I was thrilled to get the phone calls from the owners on Monday."
Another key booking for Rue this Sunday is boom colt Lettucerockthem in the Gr.1 $300,000 Australian Pacing Gold 2yo Colts and Geldings Final.
Thepacer is unbeaten since switching to the stables of Belinda McCarthy after claiming both the heat and semi-final in the past fortnight.
Lettucerockthem has drawn the coveted pole position.
"Again, it's another fantastic opportunity for me this weekend so I'm excited. He looks very smart although All Eyes On Us was the most impressive of the semi-final winners last weekend but the barrier draw is a huge advantage to my colt.
Paul (Kahlefeldt - owner) pours plenty into the game so he deserves every success he gets, it would be great to win a race like this for him."
Rue will fly to Sydney on Sunday morning after completing his engagements on Saturday night at Albion Park.
by Chris BARSBY (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)