Day At The Track

Johny Rock gets another stamp in his Passport

01:22 AM 17 Apr 2015 NZST
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Johny Rock
Johny Rock
Mark Hall Photo

Former US pacer Johny Rock started his harness racing career competing against the best juveniles in North America.  He raced in the 2013 Meadowlands Pace behind Captaintreacherous and after being purchased by an Australasian syndicate made his way to New Zealand to be trained by Graham and Paul Court.

The son of Rocknroll Hanover has had eight starts across the Tasman and has been placed four times with a third behind Vice Chairman in 1:51.9 the pick of his runs.  On Saturday night Johny Rock will have his first Australian start when he steps out in a heat of the Carousel at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

Paul Court arrived in Sydney on Wednesday in preparation for the weekend and is interested to see how Johny Rock competes in Australian conditions.

“I think he is going to be better suited in Australia than he has been back in New Zealand. There tends to be genuine speed in the races in Australia and that is probably because the drivers in New Zealand are a little more conservative,” Court said.

“The horse has come a long way since he has arrived in New Zealand, he had a bit of an attitude and had to adjust a great deal to our style of racing which has taken some time but I’m happy with the transition he has made.”

Johny Rock needed to learn to relax in his races on arrival.

“He just wanted to run his rivals ragged when he first got here and that didn’t suit the racing pattern so he needed to learn to sit in and peel off a 26 second final quarter rather than just running flat chat and getting home in 28.

“It might come as a bit of a surprise to a few who don’t know the horse that well but he is a great stayer and I’m sure we will see the best of him in Australia.”

Saturday night’s race makes for an interesting comparison.  Johny Rock has banked $405,653 while his rivals combined have won $311,256.

“He is only assessed C3 in Australia so he does look well placed and has drawn well but he will probably be lacking a little bit of race fitness. He will be at his best when he can race week to week which will definitely be available in Sydney.”

“I’m not sure how long we will stay over for, we will play it by ear. It probably all depends on how he is racing because if he is going well and handling the conditions then it makes sense to stay.” 

Greg Hayes

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