Lightning struck twice for El Roca when his gifted daughter Romancing The Moon claimed top honours in a strong edition of the Group 1 Levin Classic at Trentham.
The Westbury Stud-based son of Fastnet Rock also sired Travelling Light, who claimed the race three years ago.
El Roca also produced a quinella at Tauranga, where Outback Opal won the Rating 65 sprint at Stylish Officer’s expense, Rocky was successful for the second time in Singapore while Redwood’s son Tuchel was a gallant runner-up in the Hong Kong Derby.
The Mark Walker-prepared Romancing The Moon has displayed an abundant mix of class and tenacity and deservedly claimed top honours to crown a highly successful three-year-old season.
“It’s a big thrill and Mark trains these fillies so well, when the rain came we became more confident and it was an incredible effort,” Te Akau Racing Manager Reece Trumper said.
She was quickly into stride to sit in second spot under rider Kozzi Asano and they hit the front early in the run home.
They were clearly headed in the straight before the steely side of the Westbury-sold Romancing The Moon’s nature kicked in and she rallied strongly for the fourth victory of her 11-start career.
“We didn’t think there would be too much speed in the race and she would there or thereabouts and fair play to her, she really toughed it out,” Trumper said.
Romancing The Moon was coming off a southern campaign, which featured victory in the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes and a runner-up finish in the Listed Dunedin Guineas.
She also has runner-up finishes in both the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes and the Listed O’Leary’s Fillies’ Classic on her CV and ran fourth in the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.
“She’s had a long preparation and we’ll look after her and she’ll come back a great four-year-old,” Trumper said.
Asano paid tribute to Romancing The Moon’s ability and fighting qualities.
“She jumped so well and it was a very tough run. I was screaming at her and trying my best and it was a Group 1 and I’m so glad I got the opportunity,” he said.
“She handled 1600 metres well and all the pressure and she’s got a very bright future.”
Romancing The Moon was bred by Matamata couple Hamish and Karyn McQuade and was knocked down to Te Akau chief David Ellis at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for $50,000.
She is out of El Hermano’s daughter Underthemoonlight, who was a talented mare and won the Group 2 Foxbridge Pate, the Group 3 Taranaki Breeders’ Classic and ran third in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy.
Rocky delivers knockout blow
El Roca made an impact in Singapore where Rocky put paid to his rivals over 1200 metres at Kranji.
Bred by stud principal Gerry Harvey, the four-year-old is trained by expatriate Kiwi horsewoman Donna Logan for John Galvin’s Fortuna syndication company.
He has now won twice in Singapore and relocated after finishing runner-up in a two-year-old trial at Avondale when in the care of Richard Collett.
Rocky was bought out of Westbury’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale draft at Karaka in 2020 for $85,000 and is the first live foal of the Encosta De Lago mare Anthology.
She is a daughter of the former top sprinter Imananabaa, successful in the Group 1 Railway Handicap.
Anthology has an unraced Savabeel two-year-old filly and foaled a colt by El Roca in 2022 before she visited Telperion.