Day At The Track

Gary hoping to finally Rock to the top

11:51 AM 03 Sep 2020 NZST
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Rockingwithsierra,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

Rockingwithsierra’s built a fence but has forgotten the pickets, something trainer Gary Hoban’s hopeful his talented three-year-old can remedy at Cranbourne today.

The Sportswriter filly’s produced five consecutive second placings in which she’s been beaten a collective 14.6 metres, including a most recent loss by a half-head at Melton on August 23.

“It has been frustrating, but as long as she comes off the track healthy I’m happy,” said Hoban, believing Rockingwithsierra had been somewhat luckless during the stretch and often a victim of unsuitable tempo.

“On face value she’s been getting home at the end of her races, which we always like - for our horses to be hitting the line,” he said. “If they are doing that you know they are thereabouts.

“But it’s come back to race style, if last week was a truly run race she would have run over the top of them, but instead she got done by a half-head.”

On that occasion leader Wheres Seggy benefitted from a 32.2-second second quarter and was able to hold off Rockingwithsierra, who made her charge for the line after sitting on the leader’s back.

“At Cranbourne before that the second quarter was 33 seconds and they got home in 57 seconds, and her last half was quite exceptional,” Hoban said.

“It’s frustrating in that regard, when you see the slow sectionals come up and it makes it very hard for the horses to come from behind.”

And Hoban expects that the tempo set by others may well play a big part in her filly’s chances in the Lather Up Standing @ Northern Rivers Equine Pace, which streams on Trots Vision at 5.19pm.

Rockingwithsierra will start from gate five, outside Joe Pace’s Australian debutant Diamond Party, a three-year-old Art Major filly who won twice in her five New Zealand starts.

“Joe’s horses beat her in her last two starts. I think he will be going forward,” Hoban said.

“There’s no point her tackling Joe. If we had drawn inside we would try and lead all the way, but she will go back and look for a sit. If it’s a truly run race she will be running on.”

This will be Rockingwithsierra’s seventh start since June 9, starting favourite in all for a return of five seconds and a third. Hoban said today's hit-out would likely be her last before a well-earned but brief respite.

“She probably needs a freshen up, just for about two weeks, just jog her every second day, and then I will set her for the sires races including the Breeders Crown,” Hoban said.

“Early in the season she was very competitive against (the best). Barrier positions play a big role, if she is drawn to find the pegs and with the pace on, the better the race she’s in the better she will go.”

But while Rockingwithsierra’s still chasing that winning feeling, Hoban’s other starter today, Orlandos Princess, was first past the post last start and looks well positioned for another positive, front running showing in today’s Aldebaran Park Trot.

“I have been quite happy with her,” Hoban said. “She is coming back from a throat operation (to her soft palette), she was a little ordinary first start, then last week she was back to where she was 12 months ago. If she runs up to the form of her last race she will be thereabouts for sure.”


HRV - Michael Howard

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