2014 Shannon Stakes Winner Rock Sturdy for Epsom Bid

Trainer Joe Pride is hoping for a hat-trick of nice runs in as many weeks and back-to-back Sydney wins in next Saturday’s Epsom Handicap following the dominant victory from Rock Sturdy in today’s Shannon Stakes 2014.

Rock Sturdy

Shannon Stakes winner Rock Sturdy could back-up in next weekend's 2014 Epsom Handicap. Photo: Steve Hart.

Last weekend at Randwick the four-year-old Fastnet Rock stallion ran a devastatingly close second when just a long neck off comeback galloper Manawanui in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m).

Today at Rosehill Gardens he handled the seven day turnaround without issue, stepping up in distance and class for the $175,000 Group 2 It’s Betting Season at TAB Shannon Stakes (1500m).

While jockey Corey Brown had a few doubts about how he’d handle the back-up, Rock Sturdy showed no fear.

Given a peach of a ride by his hoop, the lovely run and his underlying class got the job done.

In the finish Rock Sturdy ($3.90) was sprinting away and defeated Ninth Legion ($7.50) and roughie shot Liberty’s Choice ($19) who dead heated for second.

The easing favourite on track, Rock Sturdy jumped from barrier one and eased back along the fence while Tim Clark took the Gai Waterhouse-trained Liberty’s Choice forward along with the Team Hawkes-trained 58.5kg top weight Ninth Legion who were the best two into stride.

Jetset Lad then strode through to take up the running in front getting his own way as the leader.

On the home straight Brown began to make his move with Rock Sturdy with about 350m left to travel, the frontrunner Jetset Lad very flat over the final few hundred metres.

The eventual Shannon Stakes winner came hard down the outside and kicked away after a beautiful ride then with a photo for the minor placings that resulted in the dead heat for second best.

Fourth over the line was then Best Case who finished off well flashing home late just out of the money, as did last year’s Crown Oaks winning mare Kirramosa for trainer John Sargent.

“He got the perfect run in transit,” Brown said post-win.

“I was concerned early about the back-up, whether he was sharp enough but he’s definitely going the right way about things.

“He jumped good, pinched up in a lovely sot and he got the right run when he needed.

“Hopefully another one next week.”

An exciting prospect for the rest of the season, Rock Sturdy is now likely to back up again next weekend for his third run in three weeks going up to elite level company for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.

“He’s just gone through the grades nicely,” Pride said.

“There’s a good chance he’ll back up next week, we’ll just see how he pulls up.

“I don’t discount he can do it again next week.

“Have a look at him, big strong boy.”

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2014 Shannon Stakes Results & Finishing Order

Rosehill Race 6 (3:45pm) – 27/09/2014


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