Confirmed to make her Group 1 debut in this weekend’s featured The Goodwood (1200m) at South Australia’s Morphettville Racecourse, apprentice jockey Kayla Nisbet is confident in the chances of Pago Rock having partnered the six-year-old to two victories from as many starts to date.
Poking a nose clear to win the Noel Rundle Handicap (1100m) together last time out on April 19th, Nisbet told AAP she was confident Pago Rock’s most recent performance warranted a Goodwood berth, but was not expecting to retain the ride.
“I knew he was heading to The Goodwood after his last win but I didn’t think I would keep the ride on him” Nisbet said.
“It was a lovely surprise”
Comfortably claiming the All Victorian Handicap Open (1100m) on June 22nd 2013 in what was Nibet’s only other tenure with Pago Rock, the talented up-and-comer believes several key facets are likely to work to the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding’s strengths in The Goodwood.
“I’ve won two from two on him but there were in easier races” Nisbet added.
“Obviously they are going to run along which suits him perfectly. He’s drawn a perfect gate for himself so he can even be a little bit closer.
“He’s been competitive in these sorts of races so he could run a place. I’m hoping so anyway.”
Claiming an impressive total of eleven wins and six places from 30 competitive appearances so far, Pago Rock has returned to the track in typically competitive form this season, finishing an impressive fourth in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up before running an unlucky second to Adamantium in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) on March 1st.
While unable to match the pace of eventual champion, the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 8th, the gelding out of Dancing Pago overcame poor position and an early check to finish sixth in the Listed City of Greater Dandenong Stakes (1200m) prior to his most recent triumph.
Allocated the central barrier 9, Pago Rock is currently offered at incredibly generous odds of $26 for success in the 2014 The Goodwood, or $6 to run a place.
Breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level of Australian racing last time out, Driefontein is currently outright favourite to continue her strong run of form this weekend, offered at even $7 odds ahead of 2013 Goodwood champion Platelet and Miracles Of Life; currently sharing the second line of betting at $7.50 odds.
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