Jason Bridgman’s nicely-bred colt Rock ‘n’ Pop looks on track for a shot at the 2012 Rosehill Guineas in Sydney this Saturday after performing well in a track gallop back home in their native New Zealand yesterday.
“It was a good, strong workout,” Bridgman said of Rock ‘n’ Pop’s run between races on Tuesday.
One of four New Zealand-trained youngsters nominated for the $500,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) this year, Rock ‘n’ Pop is by boom Aussie sire Fastnet Rock out of 1993 New Zealand Derby winner Popsy.
Purchased at last year’s Karaka sales for $NZ1 million Rock ‘n’ Pop has won three of their four career starts to date including the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas over the mile last November.
They come off back-to-back elite level placings this season having run third to possible 2012 Melbourne Cup-bound Shez Sinsational in the International Stakes at Te Rapa last month before their last-start second behind Silent Achiever in the NZ Derby (2400m) on March 3.
New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever is also heading towards the Rosehill Guineas 2012, Roger James’ in-form O’Reilly filly out to secure the NZ Derby – Rosehill Guineas double the way fellow Kiwi Jimmy Choux did 12 months ago.
Matamata-based horseman Bridgman said that all going well Rock ‘n’ Pop would be on a plane tonight scheduled to arrive in Sydney around 10pm.
While his breeding alone makes him a valuable stallion prospect, his father Fastnet Rock’s progeny having earned close to $9 million this season alone, a Group 1 win in Australia would most certainly enhance that value.
“Obviously he’s a stallion prospect so we’ll be trying to fashion a CV for him,” Bridgman said.
“Getting black type against his name in Australia is important and a race like the Rosehill Guineas fits into those plans.”
Bridgman is confident that Rock ‘n’ Pop has the fitness to be competitive in the Rosehill Guineas, where Jimmy Cassidy will be in the saddle, and while he is aware of the talent among their possible rivals he believed they would be hard to beat if conditions suit.
“When Jimmy Choux went over and won the Guineas last year he did them for fitness I thought,” he said.
“In our case, we have been racing against Silent Achiever and both horses are rock-hard.
“Among the Australian horses it’s going to take a natural stayer to beat us.
“Still, my horse has to travel and settle in. That’s going to be his biggest test.”
He went on to say that a firmer track would work in his horse’s favour, soft ground one of the reasons he only came within two and a half lengths of Silent Achiever in the NZ Derby last time out.
“Silent Achiever is top shelf but in the (New Zealand) Derby we were a bit inconvenienced by the slow track,” he said.
“Definitely a decent track will help. Nothing worse than a dead to slow.”
The official 2012 Rosehill Guineas field and barrier draw will be released later this morning with Races.com.au to publish the acceptances and gates.
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