Rue’s on a Country driving mission

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Mat Rue will represent Country in the City-Country Drivers Challenge at Junee tomorrow. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 111914ctrots2PACING

BATHURST driver Mat Rue will have big shoes to fill when he heads to Junee tomorrow for the club’s City-Country Drivers Challenge.

Staged across three heats, Rue will be one of five country-based drivers locking horns with city representatives David Morris, Josh Aiken, Zac Phillips, Josh Duggan and Alex Ashwood.

The country team will consist of Rue, David Moran, Corey Bell, Dennis Picker and Scott Osmond.

A C2-C3, a C1 and a C0 race will form the basis for the competition, with points awarded to each driver based on their finishing positions across all three of the $8,000 races on what is a big night for the Junee club.

It will coincide with their Carnival of Cups meeting.

Twelve months ago it was Bathurst star Amanda Turnbull who claimed the crown for the country team. Rue is keen to do likewise but he will have his hands full.

He drives Paul Burt’s Wills Son in the C2-C3 Pace (2,170 metres), who won two starts ago but in general has struggled over the past 12 months. He has drawn the fourth gate on the front row.

Rue follows that with outings on Projectile in the C1 Pace (2,170m) for Philip Maguire, and Patch Langham for Walter Kefford in the C0 Pace (1,760m).

The latter two starters are both going from the back row, and they too have not been in particularly inspiring form.

All that is part of the challenge, says Rue.

“I actually held off from deciding whether I was going to take part because I wanted to see how a couple of my own horses trialled. I was thinking of taking them to Junee themselves, but I’m only bringing one now,” he said.

“With these series’ each driver just gets allocated a horse by the luck of the draw, so you don’t know what you’ll end up on.

“I haven’t drawn very well with these races, two of them are off the back row which will be tricky, but I’ll be doing my best.”

Such is the nature of the sport that the majority of the time, particularly for an in-form and in demand driver like Rue, he knows a lot about the horses he takes out onto the track every single race.

However, when that doesn’t happen things get more difficult.

“Some of these races and horses can be a bit tough, but sometimes you get the chance to talk to the trainers and get a good idea of what the horse likes to do which helps,” he said.

“The good thing is that all the drivers are in pretty much the same boat when it comes to knowing about their horses.

“It is a lot to live up to with Amanda having won this thing last year, but I’ll be doing my best.”

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