Gangemi hoping for some Rock Magic ahead of Winterbottom Stakes

Rock Magic
WA trainer Chris Gangemi will be aiming to secure his first win at the highest level on Saturday afternoon when his stable star, Rock Magic, contests the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.

The seven-year-old gelding is currently the $7 third elect with Sportsbet behind Melbourne stars Terravista ($3.50) and Malaguerra ($3.50), having won the Group 3 Prince Of Wales (1000m) first up in October, followed by a fast-finishing second in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves (1100m) at Ascot on November 12.

Gangemi told that he’s happy with his horse’s form going into Saturday’s race and is expecting a bold showing from barrier three.

“He has been a good horse for a long time now, but especially his last two preps he has been in career-best form,” Gangemi said.

“I don’t think his form could be any better leading in. He sat wide and still won first up and the other day was a huge run – he gave away a lot in weights and ran home in 33.10 – one more stride and he probably would have won.

“If he can bring that form on Saturday, then he should be there in the finish.

“There looks like there is a fair bit of speed on paper, so I imagine he will settle just worse than midfield and hopefully get out and start his run at the 600.

“He is the third favourite and the shortest of the Perth horses, so you have to give him a winning chance.

“With that being said, I have a lot of respect for the Melbourne horses – especially the two group 1 winners Terravista and Malaguerra.

“But if they don’t turn up with their A-game, then he is definitely going to be a big threat.”

A winner of 12 of his 34 starts, the son of Redoute’s Choice has been a marvellous galloper for team Gangemi, having won a handful of black type events and running eighth in the Winterbottom in 2014.

However, Gangemi says he is an entirely different horse now.

“He had a bit of an issue going into the Winterbottom two years ago, but we ran him and he didn’t disgrace himself.

“He is a much better horse this time around.

“He is seven years old, but he has only had 30-odd starts, so he is very lightly raced – he only has a few runs in the summer and a few runs in winter because there are not too many races on for him.

“Not being able to have many starts each prep is probably helping him, hopefully he can continue racing until he is eight or nine.”

Rock Magic is one of 16 horses Gangemi currently has in work at his Ascot base, with his whole family involved in the sport.

“My dad John was a hobby trainer for years and years, he only had one or two horses at a time for something to do.

“About four years ago I took over the training – my brother Michael started up a couple of building companies that were going quiet well so we came into a bit of money which helped to build our team.

“It is a little bit more than a hobby now, at the moment we have 16 horses in work which is a good number – I got up to 25 at one point which was a bit much.

“I still train from mum and dad’s property and my brother owns all the horses, so it is a real family business.

“We had a good open class sprinter a few years ago called Werd who won almost $600,000 and he was the best we had trained until this bloke came along and he has now won five stakes races and $700,000 – he is the stable star.

“We bought him as a tried horse from Sydney where he had about 10 starts – we didn’t pay a hell of a lot for him – he has earned about 10 times what we paid so he has been a very good horse for us.”

Despite being a leading contender in one of WA’s biggest features, Gangemi says he still can’t comprehend how he would feel if Rock Magic were able to salute in the $1M event on Saturday afternoon.

“There are top trainers all over Australia who have been training for years and years and never won a group 1 – I’m not sure how I’d feel to be honest.

“It would be unbelievable.”

The Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes is race eight on the card at Ascot this Saturday and is set to jump at 5pm local time.

Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes

Terravista $3.50
Malaguerra $3.50
Takedown $10
Rock Magic $7 with Sportsbet
Keen Array $26
First Among Equals $21
Battle Hero $51
Vega Magic $11
Regal Commander $126
State Solicitor $10
Sheidel $11
Military Reign $71

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