Awesome Rock was unlucky to lose the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) in a protest last time, but has arrived in Sydney ahead of a tilt at Saturday’s 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.
Jumping from the gates well in the Australian Cup, jockey Stephen Baster allowed the four-year-old to stride forward and take a position on pace; setting only a reasonable tempo in transit but producing a big late turn of foot to cross the line ahead of the Chris Waller-trained Preferment.
Having been ruled to have hindered the late run of Preferment, who finished only the bob of a head off the pace of the Fastnet Rock entire, co-trainer Troy Corstens told AAP the team are pleased with the condition of their stable star and believe he is ready for a big performance.
“He’s settled in beautifully,” Corstens said.
“He loves a dry track, so that would have been ideal. But unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about the weather.
“He didn’t need a hard hit-out and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do on Saturday.
“He hasn’t put one foot wrong (since the Australian Cup). He’s an extremely sound horse and maintains his fitness very easily.”
Awesome Rock has been a strong and consistent performer through his entire racing career so far; posting two wins and a further seven minors through eighteen career starts since first appearing on course competitively in early 2014.
Clearly requiring a run when returning in 2015 for eleventh in the Group 2 William Hill Stakes (1200m) but responded in running third in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) and fourth in the talent-rich Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m).
Resuming in spring for third in the Hockingstuart Handicap (1400m), Awesome Rock failed to fire in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 12th but ended his campaign second in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) and first in the Listed Symphony Stakes (1800m) on Melbourne Cup Day.
The 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by 9am today (Tuesday, 5 April 2016).
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