Trainer Joe Pride is considering backing up Rock Sturdy for the third week in a row in the Epsom Handicap next week after winning the Group 2 $175,000 It’s Betting Season At TAB Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill today.
Rock Sturdy has earned a place in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick after gaining exemption from the ballot by winning the Shannon Stakes and Pride said that his tough galloper would have no trouble going around again next week.
“He has just gone through the grades nicely. There is a chance he will back up next week. We will just see how he pulls up,” Pride said.
“He is the sort of horse that you have to mindful that he only does what he has to do. I think today was a peak run for him but I don’t discount that he can do it again next week.”
“He’s a big strong boy.”
Singapore based jockey Corey Brown rode Rock Sturdy last week when the four year old was beaten as favourite when second to Manawanui in the Group 3 $125,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick and will be making the return trip again next week after producing a masterful ride to win today.
Brown had Rock Sturdy travelling on the fence in sixth position at the half way mark and was able to work his way into the clear on the home turn before unleashing his final run at the 250m.
Ninth Legion ($7.50) and Liberty’s Choice ($19) crossed the line together and after initially being declared a dead heat for second, Liberty’s Choice was promoted to a clear second after connections successfully protested against Ninth Legion who was moved back to third.
sea geadwho did a good job to hold on to dead heat for second with the who also raced in the first half of the field.
Rocky Sturdy has only been allocated 52kgs for the Epsom Handicap and is exempt from any penalty for his win in the Shannon Stakes and is now a genuine lightweight chance in the 1600m Randwick Spring Carnival feature.