Day At The Track

Rue and Karloo team up for Cup

06:34 AM 17 Feb 2018 NZDT
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Karloothreeothree and Mat Rue, harness racing
Karloothreeothree and Mat Rue will team up for Sunday's afternoon meeting at the Bathurst Harness Racing Club, tackling the Orange CYMS Group 10 Rugby League Cup.
Coffee Photography

Harness racing duo Barry Lew and Mat Rue have what the former calls a “gentleman’s agreement” when it comes to their relationship on the track.

Putting it simply, find a winner, any winner.

“If he’s got a better drive than my horse in the field, than take it,” Lew reveals.

So when fields for Sunday’s Group 10-themed afternoon meeting at the Bathurst Harness Racing Club came out and Rue was down for drives on both Lew’s Karloo Threeothree and, his wife, Gemma Rue’s Izzy Watt, in the Orange CYMS Group 10 Rugby League Cup, the battle to find a winner started well before the scheduled 4.53pm jump on Sunday afternoon.

Despite Rue occupying the sulky in all bar two of Karloo Threeothree’s 28 starts, Lew thought he was no chance of booking the highly rate driver on Sunday – not up against Rue’s wife, Gemma.

“I only go for the best drivers,” Lew said on Thursday.

“But if he’s got a ride better than mine on Sunday, he should take it. Matt’s a really good form student.

“He’d be the man to talk, though,” Lew added. “The horse is working brilliantly. He’s drawn a bit awkward, but over the longer trip that won’t matter all too much.”

As it turns on, Rue agrees.

In a bid to find that winner, Rue was confirmed as the driver for Lew’s four-year-old bay gelding on Friday morning, with an eye on the class four or better feature’s $8480 purse.

Lew was hopeful the Rue-Karloo combination will learn from the race’s heats last week, with Karloothreeothree trapped wide in a run that netted the pair a fifth-place finish.

“It’s a pretty good field,” Lew, 65, said.

“Before (the heats at Bathurst he) ran convincingly, he was really impressive in a win at Dubbo.

“But, as I said, this is another really good field. You get those Sydney trainers and drivers bringing a few up (to Bathurst) and they’re all hard to beat.”

Karloo Threeothree has been drawn barrier 10 for Sunday’s final, but with “a brilliant turn of foot”, Lew isn’t concerned over the 2260 metre journey.

All nine of Sunday’s paces are named after Group 10 clubs, with the first, the Bathurst Panthers Club 2YO Pace starting at 12.50pm.

Nick McGrath

Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

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