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Nowhere to hide for Wieland's Prime Ruler

27 June 2022

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Fred Wieland concedes there’s nowhere to hide for rising North Queensland star Prime Ruler as he faces a weight disadvantage in his return clash with Brilliant Mind in the Class 6 Handicap at Townsville on Tuesday.

Prime Ruler has started nine times for six wins – all for Wieland – since owner Tom Hedley bought him from Sydney trainer Matthew Smith as an unraced three-year-old.

Wieland is hoping Prime Ruler can continue his winning form over his next two starts to warrant earning a spot in the $100,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap at Cluden Park on August 6.

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“We’re just poking along steadily with him at this stage but if he can win his next two starts then he’ll probably get a start in the Cleveland Bay,” Wieland said.

“If he doesn’t make it this year, it’ll be next year.”

Prime Ruler is coming off a narrow last start win over the Graham Hughes-trained Family Star and Brilliant Mind from the Stephen Massingham stable.

“It looks on paper like his last win was very close but he did it tough that day,” Wieland said.

“He had to do it both ends after he went forward early and then he took off again before the home turn.”

Prime Ruler and Brilliant Mind have both gone up in the weights since their last clash and Massingham has decided to engage three-kilo claiming apprentice Cody Collis for Brilliant Mind.

Wieland, however, has resisted claiming and has stuck with Brisbane-based jockey Ryan Wiggins, who has ridden the four-year-old in his last six starts, for five wins and a second.

His only defeat was when Prime Ruler was resuming after a six-month break when he finished second to Family Star in a Class 4 in Townsville in the middle of April.

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“The weights favour Brilliant Mind so he looks the danger again but my bloke will be hard to beat,” Wieland said.

Wieland has never won the Cleveland Bay at Cluden but has won a Cairns Cup and feature juvenile races in the north.

The 64-year-old has been training full time for 22 years and has been around horses for half a century.

“I was only young when I helped my father around the stables and I’ve been training full time for around 22 years,” he said.

“I was a truck driver for Coco-Cola and I did some farrier work before I started training.”

Wieland believes Prime Ruler has proven he’s worthy of a Cleveland Bay campaign but is prepared to wait if he doesn’t make it this year.

“He’s pretty smart and has proven himself but he’s up in the weights now so there’s nowhere to hide,” he said.