New Stakes-Winner for Fastnet Rock
At Flemington on Saturday regally bred filly Empress Rock (3f Fastnet Rock x Empress Jade, by Encosta de Lago) scored a powerful win in the Group II VRC Kewney Stakes over 1400 metres. The Bart Cummings trained filly has always shown plenty of ability, so much so that her trainer elected to run her in the Group I ATC Golden Slipper last year at just her second start following an easy debut win. That plan ended in tears when she finished last in the field of 14 behind Sepoy and Mosheen, but a good long spell and a more patient approach has brought the filly back to her realizing full potential. Second at her previous start in a Listed event at Moonee Valley, Empress Rock appreciated the step up to 1400 metres and wide open spaces of Flemington for this assignment and raced accordingly. She always looked dangerous parked in third spot by Steven Arnold and when asked for an effort quickly burnt off her opposition to win by a length and a quarter. "I've won it a few times before with some pretty nice horses, but this one has got a good future,” Cummings said. "He rode it well that bloke (Steven Arnold), not bad for an old bloke. "This one was pretty impressive today against the fillies and you've got to be in it to win it. She will get a mile; I'm not sure about any further.” Raced by Bart Cummings and long time client Dato Tan Chin Nam, Empress Rock is the first foal of Empress Jade, a metropolitan winning half-sister by Encosta de Lago to champion sprinter Silent Witness and Group II winner Sister Madly. Covered again by Fastnet Rock last spring, Empress Jade was a $480,000 Inglis Easter purchase back in 2005 for Bart Cummings, the mare retained to breed on with after her racing career, a decision that may well prove fruitful judging by the performance of Empress Rock. Empress Rock is the 27th stakes-winner for Fastnet Rock, who also went close to stakes success on Saturday with exciting colt Foxwedge (3c Fastnet Rock x Forest Native, by Forest Wildcat), a gallant third in the Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap behind Hay List; and Sea Siren (3f Fastnet Rock x Express a Smile, by Success Express), a close second to Streama in the Group II ATC Surround Stakes.