Wednesday NZ Briefs – Rock On Wood earns his spell

Rock On Wood will head to the paddock.

Promising three-year-old Rock On Wood has come a long way in a short time and his progress has been rewarded with a spell.

“Things went against him last start so we thought it’s a good time to give him a break,” part-owner and trainer Leanne Elliot said.

The son of Redwood has won two of his three starts, including a defeat at Te Aroha of the highly- rated Sherrif who subsequently won the Group 3 Manawatu Classic (2000m).

Rock On Wood, who finished sixth in the Awapuni event after an interrupted run, has been the subject of a number of overseas offers.

“There haven’t been any since his last run, they all know now we want to keep him,” Elliot said.

Lucrative bonuses on line in Cup

The connections of Five To Midnight had an added incentive for aiming the stayer at Saturday’s A$2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick. He will claim a A$100,000 bonus for the owners and A$50,000 to trainer Lisa Latta if he wins or runs a place.

Five To Midnight qualified for the bonus by finishing runner-up in last month’s Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m).

The New Zealand-bred and owned Fanatic was also eligible, following her success in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m), but an injury on Tuesday has forced her withdrawal.

Debutant completes Niagara double

Cheeky Bee followed up a trial win with a debut success at Te Awamutu on Wednesday.

The three-year-old triumphed in the Apprentice Riders’ Day Maiden (1150m) to also complete a winning double for his The Oaks Stud-based sire Niagara, whose son Stand Tall claimed the opening event, the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Maiden (1150m).

“His last two trials were really good and he’s an out and out sprinter so Waipa was always going to suit him,” Cheeky Bee’s trainer Mark Forbes said.

“We’ll carry on with him now and, hopefully, he can pick up another one along the way.”