Awesome Rock returns at Caulfield

Awesome Rock has already made the step to Group One company and his jockey Stephen Baster has no doubt he can be a feature player this spring.

The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained galloper makes his reappearance in the Group Two P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Awesome Rock ran the race of his career when first home in the Australian Cup at Flemington in March, only to lose the race on protest to the Chris Waller-trained Preferment.

He was spelled after running last on wet ground in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick during the autumn.

Apart from a three-week stint in Mauritius last month, Baster has been aboard Awesome Rock in all his work leading into the spring.

“I’ve ridden him in a fair bit of work and in his couple of trials,” Baster said.

“I wouldn’t like to say he’s improved but I would say he’s at that level he was in autumn.

“He’s in pretty good order for his return.”

Awesome Rock resumed over the same course and distance in the autumn, finishing 12th behind Suavito in the Group One C F Orr Stakes.

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He drew barrier 17 that day and Baster was forced to ride him against his usual pattern.

Baster expects from barrier four on Saturday he will be much handier in the run.

“The draw is probably perfect for him as he’s an on-speed horse,” Baster said.

“First-up last time in he drew off the track and we rode him quiet but the run was super as he didn’t have a lot of room in the straight.

“The 1400 metres is probably not his go but he won’t be out the back from that draw and fresh he can run a good race.”

Giving Baster some heart is the likely solid speed from noted on-pacers Lord Of The Sky and The Cleaner.

But Baster wouldn’t be surprised if Steven Arnold on The Cleaner, who is having his first run for Peter Gelagotis, takes a sit off Lord Of The Sky.

“The Cleaner’s having its first start for them and I don’t think they’ll be wanting to take on Lord Of The Sky,” Baster said.

“But it should be a nicely run race which should suit us.”

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