Keith Dryden is banking on Jay Ford’s boundless affinity with the Goulburn racecourse to help Rockarosa overcome her horror alley in Tuesday’s Country Championship Heat and book her ticket to $500,000 Final at Randwick on April 3.
Ford has ridden more winners at Goulburn than any other racetrack – 108.
That is 41 more than at Nowra where the SDRA Country Championships was to have taken place on Sunday before heavy rain forced a rescheduled time and place.
Rockarosa, who races in the colours of Dryden’s Kosciuskzo winner Handle The Truth, started life with Chris Waller before heading to Canberra and winning twice for Dryden, both times with Takeover Target’s jockey in the saddle.
“Jay knows her,’’ Dryden says.
Jay Ford has an impressive record at Goulburn.Source:Getty Images
“He won that big fillies race on her at Wagga over the carnival, the Queen Of The South in the wet over there, so hopefully we can repeat that experience.’’
Rockarosa won just the one race when she called Rosehill home, but in what has turned out to be a uncommonly strong Gosford maiden despite having only four rivals.
Runner-up that afternoon was her then stablemate Bigboyroy with Godolphin’s Zakat more than three lengths behind at the finish.
Rockarosa has 54kgs in Tuesday’s Heat, which is the first time she has carried such a light-weight since her debut fifth at Canterbury in May 2019 behind Maddi Rocks.
The last time Dryden’s mare raced was in a Rosehill TAB Highway over 1500m with 60kgs (and Jay Ford) on her back.
“Rockarosa is dropping a fair bit in weight from what she usually carries and we have kept her on the fresh side so I think she is well in at the weights which is one consolation for us,’’ said Dryden.
“She has only had the two runs this year and she ran a bottler first-up. She wasn’t disgraced when she ran fifth in the Highway and had plenty of weight that day.’’
Dryden saddles-up three runners in the $150,000 Qualifier; his other two Eltham Palace and Wilful Soul also have a direct connection to Takeover Target.
The pair were both foaled at Meringo Stud, the same as Takeover Target.
Keith Dryden has three runners in the Country Championsship qualifier at Goulburn.Source:AAP
In fact, Eltham Palace is owned by Meringo Stud proprietor and Takeover Target’s breeder, Tony Hartnell.
As for Wilful Soul, she is a daughter of Wilful Default, the lesser known sibling of Joe Janiak’s globetrotting world beater.
Both mares will need to run to run the races of life to qualify, but there are no better ‘wet trackers’ in the Heat and both Meringo alumni are recent winners.
For her part, Wilful Soul is aiming to (sort of) emulate her ‘uncle’ Takeover Target’s famous rags to riches story, as Dryden explained.
“I originally trained her and the guy that owned it said she is not good enough for the city, so retired it. He put it on the internet and these blokes from the Queanbyean pub bought it for $1000 and rang me up and asked me to train it, so I got it back,’’ Dryden said.
Cavanough dreams big with Eiger at Scone
Brett Cavanough’s chances of being the first trainer to claim the Kosciusko and Country Championships Final double don’t rest solely with Eiger, but there is every chance he will be there at Randwick in 46 days time.
‘Cav’ and Eiger won’t have as far to travel on Tuesday thanks to some precision placement by It’s Me’s trainer.
“He looks pretty well placed on paper,’’ Cavanough said.
Trainer Brett Cavanough is confident Eiger can salute at Scone on Tuesday.Source:AAP
“He is there to win there on Tuesday, obviously, and then onto the Country Championships. If (the Qualifying heat) was run at Scone I would be confident, but it is going to be run on the “dog-track’’ at Tamworth, so it is probably not going to suit him because he is a get-back horse.
“I would be almost inclined to take the right ratings race in town with him at the moment, the way he is going at home, but we have just got to use this system to get to the Country Championships. That race (the Heat) is worth $70,000-odd to the winner so we have just got to have a crack at it,’’ Cavanough said.
There are a lot of well-bred horses on the surrounding stud and farms in the nation’s thoroughbred capital, but there are none with more royal lineage at the towns racetrack today than Cav’s pair, Patino Ruby and My Sister Carole.
Patino Ruby is a daughter of MRC Thousand Guineas winner Commanding Jewel, who is also a three-quarter-sister to the champion, Atlantic Jewel.
Patino Ruby is ‘only’ a Muswellbrook maiden winner but has had just the two runs and is surely bound for better races at bigger venues than Tuesdays Exceedance @ Vinery Class 1 Handicap (900m).
“She is a good, sharp filly,’’ said Cavanough.
“Her only defeat was at 900m but we have got to kick off somewhere and it is on her home track so it will be a good starting point.’’
My Sister Carole, meanwhile, is a daughter of Lonhro out of Salinger Stakes winner Sister Madly who also happens to be a half-sister to Taree-bred, Hong Kong hero, Silent Witness.
“I thought 1100m would be perfect for her but this (1000m) race presents itself on her home track and our track is in amazing condition.’’
Originally published asGoulburn preview: Jay gives Rockarosa huge advantage
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