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Local stud’s long shot pays off

Roch’ N’ Horse sprinting to victory in the Group One Newmarket Handicap [1200m] at Flemington on Saturday with jockey Patrick Moloney on board. PHOTO/BRUNO CANNATELLI

Stunning show at Flemington


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Victory in one of Australia’s premier sprint races with a 100-1 shot capped off a great week for Masterton‘s Little Avondale Stud.

Roch ’N’ Horse made a mockery of those who dismissed the form of New Zealand sprinters, getting under punters’ guards in her stunning victory in the Group One Newmarket Handicap over 1200m at Flemington on Saturday.

Stud owner Sam Williams watched the race unfold on a television in a Turangi pub. PHOTO/TRISH DUNNELL

While stud owner Sam Williams watched the $1.63 million race on his way home from the Karaka Sales, wife Catriona, was on hand at Flemington to welcome back her star,

“We were halfway home from Karaka and stopped at the pub in Turangi to watch the race. The whole pub knew we were there. At the 300m mark when she made her move, we were screaming,” Sam Williams said.

“We shouted the bar, and we got out of there before they wouldn’t let us out of the town.

“One bloke asked us if we’d like to buy a house there, so we thought we should be on our way.”

Williams said it was important that he stayed and saw through the Karaka Sales, given the yearling product was two-and-a-half years in the making.

“Cat said ‘Sam, we’ve got a runner in a Group One at Flemington, one of us has got to go’,” he said.

“She had a hell of a trip to get there, she got stopped at Customs in Wellington and they weren’t going to let her on the plane due to some documentation.

“She was the last one on the plane. But she is unbelievable. She is in a wheelchair and had three bags with her, but it doesn’t matter, she gets people to take it for her.”

A delighted Catriona Williams after Roch’ N’ Horse’s win at Flemington on Saturday. PHOTO/BRUNO CANNATELLI

The victory was another feather in the cap of the stud’s proven stallion, Per Incanto, the sire of 23 individual stakes winners, including five at Group One level.

Per Incanto, the champion sire by winners in Hong Kong last season, was represented by Lost And Running in the race as well.

Sporting the colours of Little Avondale Stud, the lightly raced Roch ‘N’ Horse ran without luck in two recent New Zealand Group One assignments and the transtasman stable of Michael Moroney and Matamata training partner Pam Gerard were keen to give the five-year-old mare a chance in the time-honoured sprint.

With the field splitting into two divisions in the straightline sprint, the far-side provided the first three home with Roch ’N’ Horse beating The Astrologist and September Run to provide jockey Patrick Moloney with his first elite win.

The New Zealand form held strong with Levante, who narrowly denied Roch ’N’ Horse victory in the Group One Telegraph over 1200m at Trentham, clearly the first horse home on the grandstand side where most of the field raced.

“She settled in well, trialled well and had been pretty luckless not to win a Group One before now really,” said Moroney.

“I thought the New Zealand sprinters were up to it. A lot of people didn’t think they were, but I was pretty sure with what I’ve seen there that they were.

“We were always going to get to Australia, it was just a matter of which carnival. We thought this was the right place for her.”

The winner of four of her 13 starts, the patiently handled mare has now won more than $A1.03 million in prizemoney, with the syndicated filly providing a bumper pay-day.

The win came after an outstanding six days for LA Stud at the Karaka Sales, with 16 yearlings sold in the Book One sale for an aggregate of $2.4 million, at an average of $150,000. Their top sale was a Savabeel-Lottery colt purchased for $340,000 by Ciaron Maher Racing-Kawa Park, Victoria, Australia.

Per Incanto’s top selling progeny were a filly out of Irish Cream, which fetched $260,000, and a filly out of Omana that went for $200,000, both to Cambridge Stud.

A Per Incanto-Ballet Danseuse colt sold to Hong Kong interests for $230,000, and Masterton’s Ardsley Stud sold a Per Incanto-Shana Singa colt to Roger James and Robert Wellwood for $200,000. — with NZ RACING DESK

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