By Glenn Davis
Atherton trainer Ricky Ludwig believes his old warhorse Windmill Lane can make a winning return at Townsville’s Cluden Park on Friday.
Eight-year-old Windmill Lane has been a prolific winner for Ludwig and will be chasing his 16th win from 45 starts in the Open Handicap (1000m).
Ludwig, 66, trained for many years at Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, before moving to Malanda, near Tolga on the Atherton Tableland in far north Queensland five years ago.
“I came here to retire and I’ve only got two in work and they’re both running at Townsville on Friday,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig’s other runner, Kodai, will tackle the QTIS Three-Year-Old Class Two Handicap (1000m) after finishing second against his own age over 950 metres in Cairns in mid-December.
“I think they both can win so I’m going there looking for a double,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig has trained some useful sprinters during his career including Sundae Jester who won 21 races and Row Boat who notched up 14 wins when he was based at Beaudesert.
However, he’s best known among his older colleagues as the trainer of Pan Gold who was narrowly beaten when second to Chance Always in the 1983 Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm.
“In those days they had developed prints and they called for three before the result was finally decided,” he said.
Ludwig has long wanted to win north Queensland’s famous sprint, the Cleveland Bay Handicap, but Windmill Lane failed in two attempts.
“He’s tried twice to win the Cleveland Bay but he just doesn’t get 1300 metres,” he said.
“But he just loves the Townsville track which is why he’s got such a good record there.
“He’s got a big weight with 63kgs but he gets in well with the three kilos claim for Emily Cass who has won twice on him.”
Ludwig believes Windmill Lane’s toughness has been the key to his success.
“He’s 100 per cent genuine and anyone can ride him,” he said.
“He hasn’t trialled but I never trial any of my horses.
“When Tyzone (last year’s Stradbroke runner-up) was up here a few years ago I thought there was not much between them and he’s probably our best sprinter here right now up to 1200 metres.
“He’s probably not as good as he was 12 months ago, but I’ll be surprised if he gets beaten tomorrow.”
Racing Queensland webnews January 16