Exciting Karaka graduate Rock On Wood (NZ) has continued his perfect four-year-old season, recording his first black-type win in Thursday’s $50,000 Listed Manawatu ITM Anzac Mile (1600m) at Awapuni.
Bought for $26,000 at the 2016 Festival Sale, Rock On Wood showed huge promise as a three-year-old with two wins, plus close fourths in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m).
He has gone to another level this season, kicking off with impressive victories at Hastings and Awapuni before stepping up to stakes level on Thursday.
Trained by Leanne Elliot and ridden by her son Ryan, Rock On Wood dropped back towards the tail of the field and was at least eight lengths from the leaders as a strung-out field approached the home turn.
But Ryan Elliot asked the Redwood gelding to quicken in the straight and he responded superbly, lengthening stride and running down the Group 1 winner Shadows Cast (NZ) (Per Incanto) in the final strides to win by a short head.
It was a special result for Leanne Elliot, who also shares ownership with Rock On Wood with her mother Jill.
“That was amazing,” she said. “I was pretty nervous coming into today, but Ryan knows the horse so well.
“We’ve been patient with this horse, but he’s really special.”
Rock On Wood has now had nine starts for five wins and $97,875 in prize-money – almost four times his purchase price.
He was bred by J C O'Sullivan, P J Rudkin, K W Tabernacle, Ms A J White and the estate of the late B A Skelton, and he was sold through the draft of Long Acres Stud.
Runner-up Shadows Cast was passed in at the 2014 South Island Sale with a $10,000 reserve. He has won 10 of his 36 starts, headed by this year’s Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham, for $435,202 in prize-money.
Vendor Long Acres Stud
Purchaser Mrs J Ker (Levin)
Breeding Redwood – Rock on Rye
Sale Lot 1109, 2016 Festival Sale, $26,000
Bred by J C O'Sullivan, P J Rudkin, K W Tabernacle, Ms A J White & Est late B A Skelton