First-up filly ready to fly at Gosford
IT'S been a long wait to get Rubel back to the races and trainer Angela Davies says the filly is ready to do well in a Benchmark 67 Handicap (1200m) at Gosford on Thursday.
The Bel Esprit three-year-old has been off the scene since October, when she won at Taree.
Her first four starts showed she had potential, but illness meant Rubel had to spell for 33 weeks ahead of her run on Thursday.
"We had her back in and she got a virus just before she was ready to race," Davies said.
"She's going as good as can be expected and has nothing on her back (54kg).
"We're back now and she's very good now. I'm pleased with her and she's on her home track."
Rubel has only had one trial in the lead-up to Thursday's race, which isn't a concern, and punters only have to look back to her last-start win.
She beat Chalmers, who subsequently won in town and was the favourite for the Grafton Guineas last week.
"There's a little bit of form around her, even though it was at Forster," Davies said.
"I don't think she handles the wet and she beat him on a heavy track that day.
"I think the mare has a little bit of ability and I anticipate that she will race well.
"She's had a couple of jump-outs at home so she's certainly up to the mark and fit enough to get around."
Rubel has to beat home only six rivals, and Davies expects the undefeated Miss Celebration to be the hardest to get past.
She has won her first two starts well in country and provincial grade and Gerald Ryan places his horses very well.
"I expect her (Rubel) to run well and her work has been good," Davies said. "We have to see if she can beat Gerald's and you can't get better than two from two.
"I don't think she'll lead even though the rail is out and you'd be tempted to. I'd be hoping she'd be running third, one off the fence.
"She knows where the post is at home so hopefully she'll put her best foot forward."
Another horse racing in the same event on Thursday is the James Berry-trained Michelle's Gift, who produced an eye-catching run at Canterbury last start.
She was fewer than three lengths away when fifth to Unwise that day, coming from 12th on the turn and suffering interference twice in the straight before powering to the line.
Michelle's Gift drops in grade and if there's enough give in the track she can let down well again.
"She's going well but the softer the track the better, so the firmness of the track is the only query," Berry said.
"She'll be over the odds but she needs to start well. She's not a difficult horse to ride but she misses the start a lot.
"If she can jump well and there's a bit of tempo on, she should be in the finish. With a bit of luck we'll be in the finish."
After Thursday's race, Michelle's Gift will head back to town in a fortnight, possibly over 1400m.