THEY come from all corners to contest the Gold Crown but Trent Rue is flying the flag for Bathurst in the two-year-old colts and geldings classic on Saturday.
Leonardos Son is one of only two horses in the Gold Crown Final who have never tasted victory in their short careers.
It would be a first-time win to remember if the Artistic Fella out of Grants Daughter gelding got home before his 10 other finalists.
Along with Bernie Hewitt’s Allnight Raid, the pair are the only trainers from the Bathurst region to book their place in the final.
Rue is delighted to have a runner in the final and especially one that can deal with whatever situation comes his way.
“I’m pretty excited to be in the final, it’s a big achievement. He won’t be too far off the pace either,” Rue said.
“He’s got some nice gate speed but he can also drop back and race with the field. He can do it from both ends so he’s pretty adaptable.”
As a $10.20 chance in his heat, Leonardos Son had a finish in him that made those odds look like a steal.
His gate speed was on show as he led the field onto the back for the first time before favourite Sporty Spook ($1.90) went by to take the lead.
Sports Chatton recovered well after galloping in the early stages to take the outside leader’s spot and send Leonardos Son to third.
The three opened up a 30 metre lead on the rest of the field going into the final turn.
The highly fancied Sporty Spook started to tire in the final 50 metres as Leonardos Son continued to hit back but wasn’t quick enough.
Another five metres of racing and the Bathurst horse would have been first.
Such a finish, even after being called upon to give a little bit extra in the running, will be encouraging for Rue before Saturday’s main event.
Rue believes his gate three start for the final again allows his gelding to get forward early if he gets the chance.
“The draw’s pretty interesting. I think we will be looking to go forward but there are a lot of good horses starting on the second row who will want to get around us,” he said.
“I think he will really stack up well against the field, he’s been improving week to week. He obviously didn’t win his heat but he only lost by a neck. I’m just happy to be in there and you’ve got to be in it to win it.”