Draw will help Rue’s cause

COURAGEOUS RUN NEEDED: Mat Rue will be attempting to drive Im All Courage to victory in tonight’s NSW Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Semi-Final, but knows it will be tough with Gold Tiara winner Dont Think Twice (pictured) in the mix. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 032616pbtiara3PACING
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IM All Courage will face fierce competition in tonight’s NSW Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies Semi-Final (1,609 metres) at Menangle Park, but the inside draw has given driver Mat Rue a shot of confidence.

The runner from Peter Trevor-Jones’ The Lagoon stable will need the sort form which got her into the Bathurst Gold Tiara Final in March if she is to advance to the decider.

Rue feels gate one could be the help she needs to find it.

With Gold Tiara champion Dont Think Twice starting alongside Im All Courage in the night’s second semi-final, Rue said there is a good chance he can sit behind the likely favourite for the majority of the run.

“She’s got good gate speed, but the favourite for probably the whole series has drawn in three, so she should be handy enough to come out and just take a sit on it. We’re a very good chance of qualifying from there, so we’re very happy with that draw,” he said.

“I’ve driven her in all her starts but one. She gets off the gate really well and if she behaves herself, then she will definitely be a chance.

“She was in the Gold Tiara Final where she finished sixth, but she was probably the only horse in the race who made ground from back in the field. With this kind draw in this grade, she’s definitely not out of her league.”

A top-six finish tonight is needed to qualify for the final – that means beating home at least five rivals.

The gate one draw is timely for Im All Courage, who has endured some horror barriers thus far in her career.

Of her 10 starts, seven have been from wider than sixth on the front row or from the second line of runners.

The Courage Under Fire x Erin Jean filly snuck into the NSW Breeders Challenge semi-final after a disappointing fifth place in last month’s heat at Menangle.

That came after a forgettable seventh place in a heat at the Bathurst Paceway, but Rue thinks those results are not a true indication of Im All Courage’s potential.

“She can get better. Her racing manners probably haven’t been up to scratch lately, so she’s got to get everything right. She’s been doing a few things out of the ordinary lately,” Rue said.

“Dont Think Twice will be the hardest to beat. She’s got the form on the board. Nearly everything she’s been in she’s won and won it well.”

Georges Plains trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt will have two runners featured in tonight’s fillies semi-finals. Im With Lexy will join Im All Courage in semi-final two, while Might And Main starts in the first.

It’s not just the juveniles who will be hunting for bigger things tonight as the Breeders Challenge Four-Year-Old Mares Semi-Finals (1,609m) round out the meeting.

Bathurst trainers will be represented in both semi-finals – Amanda Turnbull’s Hey Porsha and Wayne White’s Miss Rodriguez will do battle in the first, with Andrew Hall’s Hallnightparty and Ashlee Grives’ Ameretto in the second.

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