Riff Rocket powers over the top to claim Rosehill Guineas

Riff Rocket
Riff Rocket blouses his rivals to claim Group 1 Rosehill Guineas success. Photo: RacingNSW

Riff Rocket (+180) has produced a scintillating turn-of-foot to claim the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on Saturday, adding his second Group 1 victory to the resume after taking out the VRC Derby (2500m) in the spring.

The Chris Waller barn had initially held dual acceptances for the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) as well, but the decision to keep the son of American Pharoah against his own age group has paid dividends.

It was built as a match-race when final fields were announced on Wednesday, with he and the James Cummings-trained Tom Kitten (+210) unable to be split by online bookmakers after the withdrawal of Militarize.

The race didn’t eventuate that way however, as Tom Kitten was given every conceivable chance by Hugh Bowman, finding the perfect position two pairs back along the inside running rail.

Riff Rocket was sent three-wide rather early by Nash Rawiller, but knew the motor he had underneath him, as the potential staying star of the future let-down with a blistering turn-of-foot in the concluding stages.

Ceolwulf (+1400) and Cap Ferrat (+1700) attempted to fight off the canvas to mount a challenge, but it was Riff Rocket’s day going on to score an impressive 0.8-length victory.

2024 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas Replay – Riff Rocket

After speaking for Via Sistina in the previous race, Chris Waller returned to the winners’ enclosure to speak on his impressive three-year-old and what might be next for his gelding.

“He’s a Derby winner and he’s a Rosehill Guineas winner,” said Waller.

“He’s showed touches of brilliance in between as well, so that was a pretty satisfying win today for the team.

“The draw was tricky, he had to come from a long way back, but Nash knew what he had under him and he backed him for a solid finish and that’s what he produced.

“I always thought about the Australian Cup but I didn’t realise it was next week.

“I’m not sure. He only just won the Victoria Derby (over) 2500 metres, our Derby is 2400, so I guess it’s going to be hard not to (run) but we’ll just see what Nash says.”

Nash Rawiller was thrilled with the victory and was more than happy to be legged aboard with the confidence of the Chris Waller team.

“To be honest, I feel like it was a bit of a present from the great man Chris Waller because I knew he was a pretty special horse but I didn’t realise how good he was until before the race when he told me,” said Rawiller.

“He’s done a wonderful job here today, the horse. He probably stole one last year and he’s repaid me this year.

“I was probably three lengths further back than I wanted to be, which is probably where I’ve been the last two weeks, but the horse was able to keep balanced and he built into the race.

“I just used the horse to come into the race a little bit and to be fair he’s done the rest himself. It was just a great effort.”

On the back of Saturday’s success, Riff Rocket is now a clear +180 favourite for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 6.

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