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09/03/02 Rubitano the New(market) Kid on the Block
0309r6rtoscrubitano.jpg (11278 bytes)Up and coming sprinter Rubitano graduated to the top of the racing ranks this afternoon when he scored a dramatic win in a blanket finish in the Group One Rosemount Estate Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

In one of the closest finishes ever seen in a Group One race at Flemington no less than eight horses crossed the line with less than a length separating the group.

For Brian Mayfield-Smith it was a case as numbers ruling on the day. The astute trainer had three runners in the race - Rubitano as well as Sudurka (seventh) and Prince Rubiton (tenth).

Mayfield-Smith said after the race the four-year-old gelding would "probably head to the paddock" for a well deserved break.

It's been a rapid rise to fame for the son of the Cox Plate champion Rubiton. Only three runs ago the gelding was beaten as a hot favourite in a Class 6 Handicap at Sandown. Now only six weeks later and two more runs under his belt the gelding can claim Melbourne's richest sprint race as his for the year 2002.

0309bmsmith.jpg (8059 bytes)The remarkable part of the Rubitano story is the fact the gelding is still in just his first preparation.

"Really he's done a great job. It's been a big ask the ten starts he's had and he's come through in flying colours," Mayfield-Smith said.

For winning jockey Stephen Baster it was a dream result in what he classed as a "lucky pick up ride."

"I was originally booked to ride (the South Australian filly) Regal Kiss but she had a few niggly problems so I then threw my hat into the ring for the ride on Rubitano," a beaming Baster said.

In a most exciting finish it was Baster and Rubitano ($13-$17) who clung on like miffed terriers to down the classy three-year-old North Boy ($8-$12) and the Sydney visitor Mistegic ($8-$9-$8).

0309sbaster.jpg (9973 bytes)Close to the action at the finish were the fourth placed deadheaters Desert Sky ($31-$21) and Chong Tong ($4.60-$6-$5 fav).

The win gave Mayfield-Smith his first Group One triumph with a galloper by Rubiton.

A huge fan of Rubiton, and why shouldn't he be, Mayfield-Smith said after the race he had trained "about 18 or so" Rubitons and most were "above average gallopers."

With today's win Mayfield-Smith swept away with the big sprint double of the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket Handicap with different horses. Today's win by Rubitano followed his stablemate Sudurka's success in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield a fortnight ago.

Sudurka, who ran his usual honest race, had his final start today and he will be shipped to New Zealand where he will stand at stud alongside O'Reilly, Danasinga, Centaine and Pins at Gary Chittick's Waikato Stud.

PICS - Quentin Lang.

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