The Slade Bloodstock-syndicated filly And Rock has been appointed an ambitious Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival target after impressing at Sandown on Wednesday, her connections naming the 2011 Thousand Guineas as a likely aim.
A rising three-year-old, And Rock earned her shot at the prestigious $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12 having broken her maiden status on a Heavy (10) Sandown track yesterday.
Saluting as the favourite in the muddy conditions, And Rock outclassed her rivals and easily defeated the Pat Carey-trained Angela’s Dream by one and three quarter lengths in the $30,000 D’Urban Handicap (1300m), Coronet Bay crossing a distant third.
“I don’t think she really handled the heavy ground as good as what she might have today but she was still too good for them,” syndicator Rob Slade of Slade Bloodstock said on Wednesday.
Mornington-based trainer John McArdle and connections have always held a high opinion of the well-bred And Rock, purchased for $100,000 at the 2010 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
“We have always thought she might be a Thousand Guineas filly,” Slade said.
“She has always shown us quite a bit.”
McArdle gave her a stakes assignment on debut in February, And Rock finishing sixth to the Lee Freedman-trained Atomic in the Listed Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).
At her next start, And Rock stepped up to Group company at Flemington but after her jockey Chris Symons lost his whip, she could only manage to finish four lengths away seventh to Triple Asset in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m).
Resuming after a four month spell, And Rock ran a promising second first-up at Seymour over 1200 metres on July 17 and keeping her in a lower-class race proved the key on Wednesday.
The daughter of top Australian sire Fastnet Rock from Grand Lodge mare Bee And Bee, Slade believes And Rock will easily get to the Thousand Guineas distance.
“Being out of a Grand Lodge mare we thought she would get at least a mile and hopefully a lot further,” he said.
“She relaxes in her races early and runs on well and there is certainly plenty of upside to her.”
2011 Thousand Guineas nominations will be taken next Tuesday August 2, as will those for the 2011 Caulfield Cup, 2011 Cox Plate and 2011 Caulfield Guineas.