Day At The Track

Rockin An Runnin takes out Valley Cup

06:01 PM 03 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Rockin An Runnin winning the Meander Valley Cup at Carrick on New Year's Eve
Rockin An Runnin winning the Meander Valley Cup at Carrick on New Year's Eve

Talented pacer Rockin An Runnin might have missed an entire season through injury but the harness racing gelding could yet make up for lost time given the way he powered his way to victory in the $10,000 Meander Valley Cup at Carrick Paceway on New Year's Eve.

The Chris Howlett-trained five-year-old gelding was forced to face the breeze for most of the race outside of the hot favourite Hafter but he made light of the task to go on and score convincingly from Cemento Rapido that trained the leader throughout with Hafter a close-up third.

It was Rockin An Runnin's fifth career win and his second from three outings this season and Howlett is very upbeat about how far Rockin An Runnin can go.

"He looked like being a very good two-year-old but he strained a tendon and then he missed his entire three-year-old season and last season we were heading him to the Raider Stakes when he suffered another leg injury.

"But he's fully recovered and he is a very nice horse with a bright future."

Rockin An Runnin is from well-bred stock and what makes his success even more enjoyable is that he was bred by his owners.

"We bred this horse from a very good mare (Run Matilda Run) but unfortunately that's the only time we were able to get her in foal," Howlett said.

Run Matilda Run (x Fake Left) won six and placed nine times from 45 starts before heading to the breeding barn.

She slipped her first foal to Our Sir Vancelot in 2007 but two years later she delivered a filly by Courage Under Fire named Matilda Rocks but she was unsuccessful from only six starts.

The broodmare then produced Rockin An Runnin in 2011 but her foal to We Will See in 2013 died and she showed no return from her mating with Shadow Play the following season.

Rockin An Runnin is owned and raced by the trainer and his wife Donna and her parents Paul ands Elizabeth Geard who are the state's most prominent thoroughbred owners and breeders.

The gelding won three last season and given the way he has improved with each start the gelded son of Major in Art will be a force with which to be reckoned in some of the country cups.

Rockin An Runnin has been driven by talented reinsman Mathew Howlett in all of his 21 starts and last time out was an absolute gem of a drive.

He summed up the situation perfectly when Hafter's driver Todd Rattray slowed the tempo.

Howlett sent Rockin An Runnin charging around the field to face the breeze from where he was able to dictate the tempo and when he called on his charge for the big effort the gelding forged clear to deliver arguably a career-best win.

Matthew has recently returned from Queensland where he represented Tasmania in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in which he produced some brilliant drives.

He finished eighth of 10 on 51 points which is not a true reflection of how well he drove during the 10-heat series.

Like all of these events the winner is determined on a points-score basis with drivers allocated horses based on random draws and luck in this area plays a dominant role in the overall outcome.

Peter Staples

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