OWNER-BREEDER Melissa Beal admitted four-year-old gelding Rock Of America had been something of a problem horse a few times over the past 18 months or so.
But all that was forgotten when the son of Rock N Roll Heaven finished powerfully to win today’s Breeders Challenge four-year-old colts and geldings final at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
A patient drive by star reinsman Greg Sugars, saw Rock Of America finish all over the top of a quality field of rivals to win the Group One by a head from outsider Left Tenant (Brendan Barnes) with pacemaker Power Of Red hanging on for third in a 1:51.4 mile rate.
Trainer Mick Doltoff said Rock Of America had caused them a few headaches.
“But we’ve had a bit of luck in these Breeders Challenge races and barrier 11 seems to be lucky for us too,” said Doltoff.
“This horse has plenty of heart and he showed that today with a marvellous win.”
Disappointment of the race was the well-backed Fouroeight, which failed to run on in the straight and finished just behind the placegetters.
* EARLIER improving mare Eye See Diamonds caused something of a minor upset when she outstayed top mare Heavens Trend to take the four-year-old mares’ final of the NSW Breeders Challenge.
Taken straight to the front from the outside of the front line, trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull quickly made her intentions clear with a slick 26.6s first quarter of the mile as she looked to retain the inside running for the rest of the race.
That left Heavens Trend to work hard before eventually settling outside the leader as Turnbull and Eye See Diamonds backed off the speed slightly with a 29.5 second split of the mile.
But that was as easy as it got for both ace mares as they singled out from the rest of the field turning for home and settled down to tight out the race the length of the long Menangle straight.
Heavens Trend may have got her nose slightly in front but in a finish that even the caller couldn’t pick, Eye See Diamonds fought back beautifully to score by a nose in a 1:52.1 mile.
The final two quarters were both put away in 28 seconds neat while it was left to Hot Shot Woman to emerge from the distantly chasing pack to grab third, just ahead of Abettorrose, who enjoyed a soft run four back on the pegs before motoring home late in the piece.
Turnbull later gave her training partner Nathan Jack and their families the credit for their success.
“Really without them, none of this would be possible,” she said.
“And the owners of Eye See Diamonds, Rosemary and Terry Cluse have stuck with us through thick and thin and have been fantastic supporters. And that all helps so much.”