Raffles Farm manager Bruce Sherwin has confirmed that the 2015 Melbourne Cup will be the major 2015 Spring Racing Carnival goal for talented stayer Rock Diva.
Rock Diva was sent to the spelling paddock following her tough victory in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 4, but he has returned to the stable of trainer Tony Pike to begin preparations for his spring preparation.
The Lucky Unicorn mare is set to campaign exclusively in Australia during the spring and Sherwin told The Informant that she will be given every possible chance to qualify for the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 3.
“Rock Diva has been back in training for six weeks,” Sherwin said.
“She spelled particularly well and is in good shape at this stage of her prep.
“She is working towards the Melbourne Cup, but we suspect she may have to win a race with ballot exemption to make the final field.
“She is unlikely to race in New Zealand this spring.”
Rock Diva stamped herself as a horse to follow when she finished fourth in both the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) and Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but she went to another level during her spring preparation.
She worked her way through the grades with a string of consistent performances, but she was beaten as a short-priced favourite when she finished fourth in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Final (2200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Rock Diva suffered another disappointing defeat when she finished fourth in the Karaka Stayers Cup (2200m) at Ellerslie on January 25 and she leapt to the top of Auckland Cup betting markets when she finished a close third in the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on February 14.
Jockey Mark Du Plessis settled Rock Diva at the tail of the field in the early stages of the Auckland Cup and the four-year-old showed an impressive turn-of-foot in the final stages of the race to score the biggest victory of the racing career to date.
Rock Diva is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $151, while Japanese stayer Fame Game ($15) is a narrow favourite from Godolphin-owned Hartnell ($17), Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($17), two-time Group 1 winner Contributer ($21), last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($21) and Darren Weir-trained Signoff ($21).