Awesome Rock mare Searchin’ Roc’s has commenced her latest Group 1 campaign with a convincing victory in the LR Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont.
The reformed barrier rogue was on her best behaviour as the $3.20 favourite for trainer Jim Taylor on Saturday. She was poised in the running line behind front-runner Excellent Dream before Chris Parnham sent her sprinting to a winning lead passing the furlong pole.
“She’s a different horse now but still keeps us on our toes,” Taylor said. “She was jumping out of her skin this morning and nearly got away when she came off the walker. She was calm with the blindfold going into the barriers but there were some nervous moments when another horse went off in the gates.”
Searchin’ Roc’s (Photo / Western Racepix) is a homebred for Serpentine-based Heather and Rob Grant and a fifth strike in black-type improved her earnings to $850,165 including Westspeed Bonuses of $220,000.
Taylor indicated she will have another crack at the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 25 after a midfield finish behind Trix Of The Trade in last year’s Big Mile. “She had two trials leading into today after eight months off and will obviously keep improving. We work her twice a day to keep her settled.”
Searchin’ Roc’s is the first foal to race out of Still Searchin’ (Trade Fair) who was bred by the late Alan Young at Kintore Stud in Serpentine. The mare is a descendant of blue-hen Denise’s Joy (Seventh Hussar) and she has a yearling filly by Awesome Rock.
The Farnley Stakes completed a running double for Awesome Rock at Belmont following Romancing The Rock who is also a first-crop 5yo by the Gold Front foundation stallion.
Trained by Grant & Alana Williams, Romancing The Rock had won at Pinjarra, Northam and Ascot last season and he scored a fourth after weaving through a wall of horses for Willie Pike on Saturday.
“I took the blame when he was just beaten last start,” Pike reported. “He needs cover as soon as possible otherwise he’s hard to manage. The speed was true today and that helped even though we were a long way back.
“I didn’t know where to go when we straightened behind a wall of horses but luckily it all panned out.”
Romancing The Rock was bred and sold by Quanah Park Thoroughbreds for $30,000 to Jamie Wason at the 2020 Perth Magic Millions. His dam Imanun (Encosta De Lago) is from a half-sister to Group 1 AJC TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) winner Melito (Redoute’s Choice).
Awesome Rock had sired a city double with Banks Avenue and Zaza Rock at Belmont last month and he stands for a $9,900 fee at Gold Front Thoroughbreds alongside Leonardo Da Hinchi ($3,000). Both fees (inc GST).