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Classic races in mind for Ruthven

After going within a short head of claiming a Sandown Guineas in his first preparation, lightly raced Ruthven kicks off his latest campaign aimed towards Classic races in two states.

Ruthven stepped up from provincial wins at his first two starts during the spring to the Group Two Sandown Guineas (1600m) in November and was only denied by a late surge from Morton’s Fork.

The lightly raced three-year-old steps out for his first start since the Guineas in Saturday’s Autumn Stakes at Caulfield before a planned shot at the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 4 and a likely trip to Sydney.

Maher believes the colt will stretch out in distance and has the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Australian Derby (2400m) as autumn options.

The trainer has elected to start him off over 1400m.

“He’s a big raw horse who is still putting it together,” trainer Ciaron Maher said.

“We’re going to the seven (furlongs) first-up. I reckon he will probably get to 10 furlongs and maybe beyond this time around.

“He’s a big athletic horse, pretty clean in the wind with a good action.”

Maher said Ruthven had furnished during his break and looked well heading into his return.

“He seems to have trialled up pretty well,” he said.

“He was a bit doughy in his jump-out actually. I thought he just needed a good shake-up, but in his work on Tuesday we did give him a good shake-up and he came on.”

Sydney visitor Attention is the $4.40 favourite ahead of Snitzson ($4.60), while seven of the eight runners are at single figures including Ruthven ($6.50).

Godolphin colt Peacock drops back to his own age after finishing fifth of nine in the Group Two Australia Stakes (1200m) won by Malaguerra from Black Heart Bart.

“He’s probably as good a chance as we have this weekend,” Godolphin trainer John O’Shea said.

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