Emirates Stakes winner Awesome Rock is on track to kick off his Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11 and will have a jump out at Flemington on Friday.
Awesome Rock was sent for a break after winning the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival and co-trainer Leon Corstens said that he has progressed nicely since returning to the stables.
“I’m pleased with him and he is going to have a trial on Friday,” Corstens told AAP.
“He’s coming to hand nicely.”
Awesome Rock with Stephen Baster in the saddle finished strongly to beat Hauraki and Seaburge in the Emirates Stakes, formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes, and it was the second time the five year old had crossed the line first in a Group 1 after getting the judge’s decision over Preferment in the 2016 Australian Cup in March.
But Hugh Bowman on runner up Preferment fired in a protest which the stewards upheld, thus relegating Awesome Rock to second and denying him and his connections a Group 1 victory.
Corstens said that Awesome Rock deserved his win in the Emirates Stakes and will be back at Flemington in the Autumn to run in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 11 try to make right his unlucky defeat last year.
“We have an axe to grind there,” Corstens said.
“We will be pushing hard to get him into that. Obviously his record over the 2000m at Flemington is pretty good and we will be heading for that.”
Awesome Rock was a consistent performer during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and after winning the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3 second up was placed fifth at Group 1 level at his next three starts before winning the Emirates Stakes.
The Fastnet Rock stallion finished fifth to Black Heart Bart in the $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) followed by a fifth to He’s Our Rokkii in the $500,000 IG Markets Toorak Handicap (1600m) both at Caulfield before running fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.