Cox Plate Contender for Fastnet Rock
The Group II MVRC Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday was won in scintillating style by talented entire Awesome Rock (5h Fastnet Rock x Awesome Planet, by Giant's Causeway). Awesome Rock won the Group I VRC Australian Cup during the autumn, only to lose the race in the steward’s room following a successful protest, but judging by this performance a Group I win may well be soon coming his way. Prepared by Leon and Troy Corstens, Awesome Rock settled back in the field for Steve Baster and when shown clear running in the straight produced an electric turn of foot to forge clear and win the 1600 metre weight-for-age contest by two lengths. The win gives Awesome Rock an automatic place in the Group I MVRC WS Cox Plate field and Troy Corstens revealed that was always the aim for the well-bred stallion. "He’s got the ability there - we’ve aimed him at the Cox Plate all along but he needed to do something like that to convince us we could have a real crack at it,” Corstens said. "It’s very satisfying to see the horse show what he’s got and I really think he’s got more improvement to come. "He’s always had something of an x-factor about him, we’re so lucky the owners have been patient with him and given him the time to come into his own. "He’s gone from being a boy into a man but we’ve got the golden ticket into the best weight-for-age race in the world so we’re going to make good use of it.” Stephen Baster was full of praise for Awesome Rock. "That was the best he’s felt under me today - he towed me into it,” Baster said. "He was travelling that well, that’s what good horses do but he just pushed himself into it and was having a bit of a stargaze in the straight.” The TAB shortened Awesome Rock from $81 to $26 for the 2016 WS Cox Plate. The first foal of Group III wining Giant’s Causeway mare Awesome Planet, Awesome Rock was bred by WA based breeders Alan and Sue Olive of Gold Front Racing and Breeding. A $575,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Newgate Farm draft for Spicer Thoroughbreds, he runs for a syndicate that includes Newgate Farm and has the overall record of three wins and seven placings from 21 starts with prizemoney nearing $700,000.