Riff Rocket (American Pharoah) wins the CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington

American Pharoah’s Riff Rocket Makes History

It was a huge day for American Pharoah’s Riff Rocket (3g American Pharoah x Missile Coda, by Smart Missile) on Saturday in Australia when the 3-year-old became the first horse in 30 years to win the Grade III CS Hayes Stakes after a Grade I Victoria Derby victory.

Racing over seven furlongs at Flemington, Riff Rocket had multiple lengths to make up in the final furlong if he wanted to get the win. That was exactly what he did, collaring the leader as they entered the final sixteenth in a surge that saw multiple other horses follow him as Riff Rocket raced to a three-quarter length victory for his fifth win in eight starts.

The Woppitt Bloodstock homebred is trained by Chris Waller and is now eying the Grade I Australian Guineas in two weeks.

“I was told he is the first horse in 30 years to win a Derby and come back and win this race, so full credit to the horse,” said Waller’s assistant Charlie Duckworth. “He’s a real trier and we had three riders in the race, and I think they all wanted to potentially ride this one. Whatever he’s been doing in his trials, all the right form judges were on him, and I think we’ll enjoy the win.”

He is one of two runners out of the stakes placed Missile Coda, who is out of a half-sister to stakes winner Walk Alone and the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Rain Affair. Missile Coda visited Home Affairs in 2023.

Riff Rocket is one of six worldwide stakes performers in 2024 for American Pharoah, with the stallion the sire of three stakes winners this year including two graded stakes winners.