BALLYMORE Stables has another derby prospect on their hands after On The Rocks won the Trevor Eagle Memorial at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The rangy three-year-old came into the $50,000 co-feature having won well at Tauranga over the mile last start, but the drop back in distance didn’t worry it as a brilliant front-running ride saw it home.
The stable, which has had past success in the New Zealand Derby with Xcellent, could have another 2400m type on their hands.
“He’s a lovely colt,” said co-trainer Pam Gerard. “You can do whatever you want on him, put him wherever and that’s a huge advantage.
“I hope so (about going to the Derby), fingers crossed.
“We didn’t quite get it right last year, but we have a couple of nice chances this year.”
The three-year-old by Alamosa is bred to stay and it looked at home in front of the quality field. Australian jockey Patrick Moloney, who filled in for the suspended Jake Bayliss, was happy to be aboard the colt.
“It wasn’t the plan to lead the race, but after I gave him a squeeze out of the barriers he landed there and they handed the lead to him,” Moloney said.
“He relaxed really good in front, got some cheap sectionals and he was able to sustain a good strong gallop from the top of the straight.”
Moloney was aware of the Derby intentions from Ballymore and believes it’s capable of taking out New Zealand’s premier three-year-old staying contest where he’s currently a $12 chance at CrownBet.com.au.
“I was really impressed with the way he won. He’s a horse with a lot of upside and today will give him even more confidence because he was able to do it on his own terms,” Moloney said.
“That’s the plan with this horse – to keep on progressing and stepping up in distance. At the moment he’s doing everything right and he’s a promising horse with a good attitude.
“I think the team will have some fun with him.”
Moloney was only in New Zealand for two days before heading off on a deserved holiday.
“Mike (Moroney) gave me the call up once Jake got the suspension to ride yesterday and today,” he said. “Yesterday didn’t pan out too well when I hit the deck, but today was better with On The Rocks.”