He’s Our Rokkii has justified his clear race favouritism and broken through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield this afternoon.
He’s Our Rokkii was backed into $2.60 favouritism in Toorak Handicap betting markets but was settled within the field of twelve as Great Esteem and Royal Rapture set the early pace.
Appearing to be blocked for a run and riding for luck rounding onto the final straight, jockey Dwayne Dunn remained calm on the Roc De Cambes gelding and bided his time before a gap between runners opened up with 250m to run.
Immediately responding to the whip, He’s Our Rokkii produced a strong kick to beat a brave Great Esteem on the line; Tivaci running on well for third.
Dunn secured a Group 1 running double in the Toorak Handicap after partnering Divine Prophet to success in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas, and was pleased to deliver Lindsay Park their four black type win of the day.
“It’s been fantastic,” Dunn said.
“I was getting sucked into a pretty ordinary spot and I had to try and get out of there.
“The tempo wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be – I thought the leaders would kick hard and Great Esteem was still there with me at the end.
“This was his great mission and he’s come through the grades beautifully, and it’s just been such a great pleasure to be with the team and what a wonderful job the Hayes’ and Dabernig team have done.”
Trainer David Hayes was confident that He’s Our Rokkii was the horse to beat in the Toorak Handicap field and was thrilled that the horse produced his best form in the race.
“I think we’ve had nine runners in nine Group 1 races this spring and have placed in them all, so it’s nice to break through. I’m over the moon,” Hayes said after the race.
“We’ve been avoiding temptation with him and thought we’d just get him to go through his classes, and now he’s arrived at the Group 1 level first go and has won.
“We’ll probably go for the Emirates and hopefully then he’ll be too quailed to run in handicaps, and he’ll be a weight-for-age horse.”
In taking out the Toorak Handicap 2016, He’s Our Rokkii has posted seven wins and a further four minors through sixteen career starts.