Fast ‘N’ Rocking has drifted out to 2015 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $5.50, but jockey Damian Lane remains confident that the talented sprinter can win his maiden Group 1 event at Ascot on Saturday as long as he receives luck in running.
Fast ‘N’ Rocking is yet to record a win at Group 1 level, but he has been thereabout in races like the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) in 2015.
The Fastnet Rock gelding returned to winning form when things went his way in the Listed Caulfield Village Handicap (1200m) at Caulfield on October 14 and Lane believes that the five-year-old deserves to be considered a leading Winterbottom Stakes contender based on his impressive performance in the Manikato Stakes.
“He is in very good order and if he gets some luck in running I think he is going to be very hard to beat,” Lane said.
“Because of his racing pattern he can be unlucky because he likes to find his feet early and come with one run.
“His form can be a little bit mixed purely because he has been unlucky a few times, but hopefully on Saturday we can get some clear room and we can reel off that turn-of-foot that he has got.”
Lane has been booked to ride Hazzabeel in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and he is not ruling the Zabeel gelding out of contention in the $1 million event at Ascot on Saturday.
Hazzabeel was only narrowly denied by Real Love and My Sister Lil in the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on October 31 and he stamped himself as a genuine Railway Stakes contender with his win in the Group 3 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m) at Ascot on November 15.
Lane admits that luck in running will also be key to the chances of Hazzabeel, but he believes that the five-year-old is ready to produce the career best performance that would be required to win the Railway Stakes.
“He is an on-speed runner, so it hurts drawing barrier 14,” Lane said.
“He has a sense of timing about him – he has been slowly improving his form and the way he won the Peters indicates that he is up to the form and he is coming right at the right time.
“I spoke to Dan Morton on Sunday and he is very happy with the way that he is progressing.”
Hazzabeel is currently available at 2015 Railway Stakes of $11 with Ladbrokes, while Delicacy ($4.40) remains favourite from Black Heart Bart ($5), Real Love ($5) and Good Project ($8).