Anna Clement put the frustration of a failed trip north with Rocababy behind her when the gifted daughter of Westbury Stud’s El Roca successfully resumed at Trentham.
The Hawera trainer’s stable star opened her summer campaign in fine style over 1200 metres in age group company after ending an otherwise lucrative spring preparation on a disappointing note when unplaced in the G3 Soliloquy Stakes in October.
“We had a little bit of trouble with her after her last start with two stone bruises and we finally managed to get those right,” Clement said.
“That’s why she had such a big gap between races and she’s showed she’s pretty special.
“The jockey (Ashvin Mudhoo) lost his irons when they jumped out of the gates as well and she was also a bit green.
“She had never raced among horses, she had always drawn out and sat wider so there were a couple of other factors that went against her and nothing panned out, but that’s the way it can go.”
Rocababy claimed the Listed O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stakes during her last campaign and was back to winning form at Trentham.
After racing on the pace, she hit the front 400 metres from home for Lisa Allpress and surged clear to score by 2.5l.
“That was very nice and not unexpected, we have always through she was going to be pretty handy little horse,” Clement said.
“I’ll have a good look around and see if I can find another nice three-year-old race somewhere for her.
“We still don’t know whether she would like a hard track, it was a Soft 7 at Trentham and all her other wins have been on heavy ground.
“I think that she can go on the better tracks, although they would probably go a bit too quickly for her over shorter distances so we would have to look at 1400m or a mile.”
The G2 Wellington Guineas on the capital city track next Saturday could be an option, although Clement is cautious as to how the filly would cope with a quick back-up.
“We will just have to wait and see how she does over the week. I’ll talk to the owner and see what he’d like to do,” she said.
Rocababy is raced by her Taranaki breeder Graham Meredith and is out of the Mastercraftsman mare Christine Ann.
On target for Million
The Gerry Harvey-bred two-year-old Believe In Magic is assured of a berth in the Karaka Million and will head into the country’s richest juvenile event in tip-top form.
Trained by Mark Walker, she was a winner at Woodville in the spring before running second in the G2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes.
Believe In Magic produced a sound dress rehearsal for the Million when she finished runner-up over 1200 metres at Pukekohe where she got back and finished stoutly along the fence.
“She’s experienced and is a real little gun racehorse,” Walker said.
Believe In Magic was bought out of Westbury’s Karaka draft for $200,000 by Te Akau’s David Ellis and is a daughter of Not A Single Doubt and the More Than Ready mare Perform A Miracle who has a yearling filly by Swiss Ace.
Golden run in Nuggets
Reliable Man’s late-blooming son The Buffer continued on his winning way with a commanding front-running performance to claim top honours in the time-honoured Kumara Gold Nuggets.
The Kenny Rae and Krystal Williams-trained six-year-old was never headed on his way to a seventh career victory and fifth from his last seven appearances.
He had been twice successful on his home track at Ruakaka earlier this preparation before heading south to claim the Ashburton Cup and the Cromwell Cup.
The Buffer then finished third in the Listed Timaru Cup (1600m) before triumphing in the Nuggets.
“He used to run a lot of seconds and thirds and was the class clown and thought racing was a joke. Since we gave him a break he’s come back and he’s put it all together,” Rae said.
The Buffer will now be sent to the paddock while future targets are mulled over.
“He’s definitely going for a break and it may be two, three or four weeks,” Rae said.
“Now he is going to be up in the weights, we might have a shot at something like the Canterbury Gold Cup or I could give him a shorter spell and look at the White Robe Lodge Stakes.
“That might be a bit out of his class, but he’s going so well.”
Dragon breathes fire
In Singapore, Redwood’s son Red Dragon was in hot form on his return after a freshen-up to score over 1600 metres and his second career victory.
He was having his fourth start since transferring to Mahadi Taib’s team and had finished third in his previous outing in November.
The Harvey-bred Red Dragon was initially bought out of Westbury’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale by trainer Steven Ramsay.
He was subsequently reoffered by Riverrock Farm at the Ready to Run Sale and sold to Singapore interests for $45,000.
Red Dragon is out of the Danehill mare Wandane, whose dam is a sister to the multiple Group 1 winner and sire Marauding, and the immediate family of stakes winner and dual Group 1 placegetter Harmony Rose.