New G2 Winner for Fastnet Rock
A bold front running display by jockey Leith Innes on gritty galloper Packing Rockstar (5g Fastnet Rock x Anabandana, by Anabaa) resulted in his first stakes victory in the Group II Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga in New Zealand on Saturday.
The progressive gelding has proven a model of consistency since returning to New Zealand following one unsuccessful start in Hong Kong.
Now in the care of Lauren Brennan, Packing Rockstar had produced an eye-catching performance to score over 1400m at Ellerslie at his last start, just three runs after finishing fourth in the Group I Sistema Railway (1200m) behind Avantage on New Year’s Day.
He was strong to the line, holding off a wall of challengers to win by a head.
“He is a lovely big horse who fights really hard,” he said.
“He was a bit of a handful around at the start, but when we got underway, he gave me a lovely ride.
“I had spoken to his part-owner Gary Carvell yesterday and he had said to me not to fight him, just to get him in a good rhythm and he would give me everything in the run home.
“We did a bit early on, but once he found the front he trucked along nicely and I had a lot of horse underneath me approaching the home straight.
“He started to get a little weary at the 100m and rolled off the fence, which gave Siracusa the gap, but he fought bravely and had enough to close it out.”
Raced by Bloodstock Agent Gary Carvell along with Brennan and her husband Mickey under their Monacurragh Lodge banner, Packing Rockstar was bought originally in Australia at Magic Millions from the Coolmore draft for $260,000 by Hong Kong trainer Ricky Yiu.
Bred by Morning Rise Stud, he is the best of three winners from Group I winner Anabandana and has now won six of his 15 starts and over $231,000 in prizemoney.
Packing Rockstar is the 171st stakes-winner for Champion sire Fastnet Rock, who had a winning double on the program as his New Zealand Derby winner Rocket Spade (3c Fastnet Rock x Affairoftheheart, by Fusaichi Pegasus) scored a commanding win over 1600m.
Co-trainer Lance O’Sullivan, who prepares Rocket Spade in partnership with Andrew Scott, was delighted with the performance and how the colt had pulled up after the race.
“He travelled nicely throughout and when Craig (Grylls)asked him to go he put them away pretty easily,” O’Sullivan said.
“We weren’t too sure what to expect as we have concentrated on getting him ready for the 2400m of the Australian Derby, so he could have been vulnerable over the mile today.
“I think his class shone through in the end and he has had a really good hit out which will help bring him along for his Sydney mission.”
O’Sullivan confirmed the horse would travel to Sydney on Monday April 5 with the Australian Derby set to be run at Randwick on April 10.