Australian Cup redemption the Autumn agenda for Awesome Rock

By: Mark Mazzaglia
November 7th, 2016

Co-trainer Troy Corstens will be looking for redemption in the 2017 Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in the Autumn with the stable’s new Group 1 winning star Awesome Rock.

Emirates Stakes winner Awesome Rock, above, will be set for the Australian Cup at Flemington in the Autumn. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Emirates Stakes winner Awesome Rock, above, will be set for the Australian Cup at Flemington in the Autumn. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Awesome Rock with Stephen Baster in the saddle finished strongly to beat Hauraki and Seaburge in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday.

The Emirates Stakes, formerly known as the weight for age Mackinnon Stakes, was the second time that Awesome Rock had crossed the line first in a Group 1 after getting the judges decision over Preferment in this year’s 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 winning trophy.

Corstens said that Awesome Rock deserved his win in the Emirates Stakes and will be back at Flemington in the Autumn to try to make right his Australian Cup defeat earlier in the year.

“We have an axe to grind there,” Corstens told RSN’s Racing Ahead.

“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.”

Corstens, who trains in partnership with his father Leon, has reported that Awesome Rock has pulled up in great order but will now be sent to the spelling paddock before being prepared for the Autumn Carnival.

“He has absolutely bounced out of the run and if there was a Cox Plate next Saturday he would be running it but there is not so we are going to go to the paddock.”

The Emirates Stakes win was Awesome Rock’s second over the Spring Carnival after the Fastnet Rock five year old scored a second up win in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3.

Winning Emirates Stakes jockey Stephen Baster has been the regular rider for Awesome Rock since the Spring of 2015 and Corstens was full of praise for his well judged ride on Saturday.

“It was the perfect ride and Stephen just did an amazing job,” Corstens said.

“If you sit back and watch the ride, he just sat behind Vadamos and stayed in his slipstream all the way.

“He peeled and knew what he had underneath him.

“We have been confident the whole way along that he had the Group 1 in him.

“It is my first Group 1 that I have trained and to do it with my Dad is amazing.”

Awesome Rock is now the winner of four of his twenty-five starts and last Saturday’s win in the Emirates Stakes took his winning prizemoney to just over the $2 million mark.

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