Proven ‘two miler’ Rock Diva is set to step up her 2015 Melbourne Cup preparation at her home base at Cambridge in New Zealand.
Top Kiwi trainer Tony Pike is pleased with the progress of Rock Diva and is ready to increase her work load before heading to Melbourne early for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
“She’s been back in work for a couple of months,” Pike told NZRacing News.
“She’s done the base work and she’ll have a bit more pressure put on her in the next month.
“The only question mark on her is how she comes up in the Spring, her best form has been in the Autumn.”
Rock Diva showed her staying potential with a tough win in the Group 1 NZ$500,000 Barefoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 4 but Pike is still worried that the mare will have trouble sneaking into the final field for the Melbourne Cup.
“It will be difficult to place her into the Melbourne Cup with her rating so we’ll have to try and win one of the exemption races on the way through,” Pike said.
“We’re working through the various options as she’s very weather dependent, she doesn’t like bad ground.”
“There’s every possibility she will go straight over there.”
The Group 3 $300,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 4 is the first Melbourne Cup exempt free race during the Melbourne Spring Carnival and is certain to attract huge interest from locals and overseas visitors.
The other races that guarantee the winner a free passage into the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’ are the Group 1 $3m Caulfield Cup (2400m), the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) and the Group 1 $1m Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Rock Diva has campaigned in Australia creditably before when competing during the 2014 Queensland Winter Carnival as a three year old.
The Lucky Unicorn filly finished fourth in both the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) and the Group 1 $400,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm which proved a great foundation for her future staying career.