Amah Rocks Valley on way to 2011 Caulfield Guineas

Caulfield Guineas 2011 hope Amah Rock maintained their unbeaten record on the weekend, Peter Morgan’s lightly-raced three-year-old taking out the first black-type in the McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley much to the pleasure of jockey Danny Nikolic.

After winning their race debut at the start of the month at Echuca, Fastnet Rock gelding Amah Rock ($6.50) enjoyed their second victory from as many runs when Nikolic rode them to a solid half-length success over Hot Spin ($10) in the $101,000 Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) on Saturday, early leader and $4.60 favourite Secret Hills finishing a further one and a quarter lengths away third.

Nikolic was admittedly impressed with the performance of Amah Rock who he was partnering for the first time, saying he would be more than happy to take the mount on them if they progress onto the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival on October 8.

“He’s the type of horse who might even be able to win a Caulfield Guineas,” Nikolic said.

And Nikolic would know, having partnered with dual European Group 1 champion Starspangledbanner for their 2009 Caulfield Guineas win.

“It’s only his second start and doing his preliminary, going around to the barriers, he was just not switched on,” Nikolic said of Amah Rock and their lack of race maturity on Saturday.

“He’s got no idea what he’s doing.

“He’s only had the one start before today and he’s so laid-back in his approach…but trust me, he is the real deal.

“He travelled like a winner, he’s got plenty to offer this horse.

“The Caulfield Guineas is still a fair way off but he travelled like a winner with that good cruising speed where he can just idle, and they’re good-class horses.

“He’s not going to meet much better than that.”

Nikolic also tipped Amah Rock to improve when stepped up in distance, the successful hoop tipping the 1600 metres of the Caulfield Guineas as ideal for the up-and-coming galloper.

“He’s only going to get better once he gets to 1400 metres or a mile,” he said.

“There’s a great margin for improvement and we’ll see it later in the spring.

“He’s got a great temperament and he’ll be my Caulfield Guineas ride.

“He’s a ripper.”

Assistant trainer Craig Widdison agreed with Nikolic’s assessment of Amah Rock as a progressive horse and said they would continue along a path that was aimed at getting to the Caulfield Guineas.

“He’s always shown us a lot,” Widdison said.

“He’s a casual sort of a horse but we’ve got a fair opinion of him and he took the next step well.

“He’s in the Guineas so we’ll keep heading towards it and see how far we get.”

Caulfield Guineas betting odds at Luxbet are dominated by Peter Snowden’s dual Group 1 winner Helmet ($7.50) and the Anthony Cummings-trained Smart Missile ($8) while Amah Rock has firmed into a $26 chance after their stakes success on Saturday.

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