Day At The Track

Its Rock And Roll is spot on

03:10 PM 26 Apr 2018 NZST
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Its Rock And Roll, harness racing
Its Rock And Roll
Gloucester Park Photo

Liam O’Connor and Jim Currie, long-standing friends and clients of ace harness racing trainer-reinsman Colin Brown, have no regrets about outlaying $37,500 to purchase Its Rock And Roll at the APG Perth yearling sales early last year.

The gelding has already earned $76,825 from two wins and two seconds from four starts and he has excellent prospects of adding another $30,225 to his tally by winning the $50,000 Westral Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Brown is bubbling with confidence and is planning to take full advantage of the coveted No. 1 barrier by attempting an all-the-way victory in the Group 2 feature event over 2130m.

None of the ten runners has raced beyond 1730m, but Its Rock And Roll should have little difficulty in competing strongly over the longer journey, with Brown declaring that the gelding is feeling better than he was when he won the Group 1 Sales Classic Final on March 2.

“His ring craft has improved dramatically since then and he’s got a lot of natural speed and a bit of toughness as well,” Brown said.

Its Rock And Roll made an impressive debut when he was a 30/1 outsider from the No. 1 barrier and led and won from Highly Flammable and Shockwave at Gloucester Park in the first week of February.

He then finished a head second to Babyface Adda before he started at 12/1 and began speedily from barrier seven in the Sales Classic in which he raced wide early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing strongly to get up and beat the pacemaker Shockwave by a head, rating 1.56.6, a race record.

Brown then gave Its Rock And Roll two and a half weeks off before preparing him for this week’s classic. Its Rock And Roll resumed in a 1684m event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he started from the back line, settled in sixth position and quickly dashed forward into the breeze after 550m. He fought on doggedly to be a two-length second to quality New Zealand-bred two-year-old Bletchley Park, who rated 1.56.2, with a final quarter in a sizzling 26.8sec.

Brown said that it was an exceptional performance by Its Rock And Roll, who took no harm from his tough run at his first appearance for just over seven weeks.

Its Rock And Roll is bred to shine as a two-year-old. His dam, the Victorian-bred Miss Worthy Whitby won at three of her eight starts at Bathurst, Albion Park and Gloucester Park as a two-year-old in 2010. The Storm Inside, a half-brother to Miss Worthy Whitby, had six starts for six wins as a two-year-old early in 2016. His wins included the Group 2 Fitzpatrick Memorial at Menangle and the Group 1 APG Classic for colts and geldings at Melton.

Toughest for Its Rock And Roll to beat on Friday night could well be Valbonne, a New Zealand-bred colt by Mach Three. Valbonne, prepared by Mike Reed, will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and will be driven by Chris Lewis.

Valbonne warmed up for the Champagne Classic in fine style at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when he raced in the breeze for the first 500m and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing solidly to win from Sangue Reale and Babyface Adda.

Lewis will be aiming to win the Champagne Classic for a record eighth time after victories with Pardon Me Boys (1987), Talladega (1999), Wirrapunda (2001), All Four Firing (2002), Slick Operator (2003), David Hercules (2009) and Mister Jadore (2013).

Ross Olivieri, who prepared Talladega for his win in the classic, is hopeful that Rich And Spoilt colt Babyface Adda will overcome the outside barrier (No. 9). Babyface Adda has won at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra and leading reinsman Shannon Suvaljko said he was confident he would fight out the finish. “I have no doubt that he will compete strongly over the 2130m,” he said.

Collie owner-trainer David Hunter has high hopes that his smart filly Itz All About Magic will prove hard to beat and remain unbeaten after four starts, following successes at Pinjarra (two) and Gloucester Park. Stuart McDonald will drive Itz All About Magic, the only runner off the back line who should gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Its Rock And Roll.

Ken Casellas

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