Pago Rock is set to start favourite in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday but trainer David Hayes is already eyeing off a couple of early season Group 1 races with the consistent galloper.
The Rock of Gibraltar gelding has won three out of four starts this campaign, to improve his record to ten wins from eighteen appearances at the races, and he handily beat a strong field in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
Although he suffered a bleeding scare after the win, Hayes believes Pago Rock is primed for another big performance on Saturday and is confident he can score his first win at Group 3 level.
“He came through it very well after the race,” Hayes told Racing Ahead.
“He must have hit his head somewhere because he had blood in one nostril but we did a lung wash and it came up clear.
“He had to do a gallop in front of the stewards this Tuesday but came through with flying colours.
“I think that he is in great order and is going to run another good race.”
Pago Rock has an outstanding record of three wins from five starts at Caulfield and Hayes has outlined a couple of big races at the home of the Melbourne Racing Club as the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival targets for the rising six-year-old.
Hayes has Pago Rock set to contest the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 17 before making his Group 1 debut in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31 and a possible tilt at the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at the end of September.
“I think that he is a length or two better around the turn at Caulfield,” Hayes said.
“We plan to have him peaking before the real hotshots come on the scene.
“He is a very underrated, consistent horse.”
Pago Rock is a clear favourite in Bletchingly Stakes betting markets from Second Effort, Elite Elle and Launay.