David Hayes-trained Pago Rock is searching for his third straight win and his first triumph at Group level when he contests the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Pago Rock has been in career best form this campaign, recording wins in the Elizabeth Marshall Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield and the All Victorian Handicap (1100m) at Flemington before his impressive victory over a strong field, which included Group 1 winner Mrs Onassis, in the Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
The Rock of Gibraltar gelding has never been placed at Group level, finishing eighth in the 2010 Group 2 West Australia Guineas (1600m) and twelfth in the 2012 Group 3 Bobby Lewis Quality (1200m), but looks every chance of recording the biggest victory of his career on Saturday with the Bletchingly Stakes nominations appearing weaker than the field he defeated in the John Monash Stakes.
Second Effort is set to be Pago Rock’s biggest competition with the Mossman six-year-old finishing third, two and a half lengths behind the winner, in his first-up run in the John Monash Stakes and is one of the few horses in the field who have previously been successful at Group level.
Trainer Clinton Mcdonald has set a string of early season races as the Spring Racing Carnival target for Second Effort and the rising seven-year-old is reportedly very close to reaching peak fitness.
Michael Moroney-trained filly Octavia is an interesting Bletchingly Stakes nomination with the Holy Roman Emperor three-year-old set to make her debut against older horses on Saturday.
Octavia has been remarkably consistent since making her debut in November last and has not missed the top three since her first career start.
Peter Moody-trained horses Mid Summer Music and Ready To Rip have won the past two editions of the Bletchingly Stakes and he will be represented in this year’s edition of the race by last start winner Kneeling and Mr Make Believe.