USA import Johny Rock impressed his co-trainer Graham Court in his first public appearance since touching down in New Zealand.
“He got out of the gate really good and just got piped on the post by a smart mare in Helena Jet,” enthused Court. “He should take plenty of improvement out of that trial and he will trial again before racing,” he added.
Court said that while it will take some time for the four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover to adapt to New Zealand racing, Johny Rock is a very quick learner.
“In America it is just handlebars down from the get-go, so he has got to learn to come back to you in the middle stages, before really kicking strongly again in the home straight,” explained Court.
Court said that he is still yet to decide when and where the 1:48 pacer will kick off his New Zealand career.
“It will depend on how he performs in his next trial, but at this stage I couldn’t be happier with him,” confirmed Court. “He has really high speed and is just going to be a tremendous stayer. He has all the attributes of a real top-liner.”
Court said that while it is far too early to try and compare Johny Rock to a horse like ‘Terror’, his trackwork would indicate that he is the second best that Court has ever trained.
Johny Rock was driven by co-trainer Paul Court in his first public appearance, but Graham confirmed that the man that has steered Terror To Love to victory in the last two New Zealand Cups, Ricky May, would be the entire’s regular driver.
Meanwhile, Terror To Love will resume in the $50,000 Northern Southland Cup tomorrow, where he will face the stiff task of giving rising star Arden Rooney a 25 metre head start.
Johny Rock fact file:
*25 starts – 9 wins – 7 seconds – 1 third
*Stakes: $494,805 NZ
*New Zealand assessment – C5
*As a two-year-old Johny Rock raced on 10 occasions for four wins and four placings, earning $151,241. His most important success was the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship at The Meadowlands.
*Johny Rock is out of Soggy Britches (1:50.4), a $200,000 winning daughter of the Woodrow Wilson winner Allamerican Ingot (1:50.6)
*Johny Rock finished second to World Champion Captaintreacherous in a heat of the Metro Pace
*Johny Rock was formerly trained by John Butenschoen and driven by Andy Miller
*He had his last start in the USA in an elimination of the Little Brown Jug, where he finished an unlucky sixth.
*He is a striking individual who stands at 15.3 hands
By Mitchell Robertson