Awesome Rock was unlucky to lose the Group 1 Australian Cup on protest last time, but co-trainer Troy Corstens is confident the four-year-old remains primed to run a big race in Saturday’s featured 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick.
Awesome Rock has been a standout for Team Corstens through his entire racing career so far; posting two wins and a further seven minors through eighteen starts since first appearing on course in 2014.
Jumping well from the gates in the Australian Cup (2000m), jockey Stephen Baster allowed the Fastnet Rock entire to stride forward and immediately take up the pace; receiving a good run in transit before mustering a big turn of foot late to pass the post first.
Having been ruled to have impeded the run of the Chris Waller-trained Preferment late in the run and subsequently stripped of what would have been his maiden win at the highest level, Corstens told Racing Ahead the horse has continued to produce high quality work in the lead-up to the 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes but remains a query on a wet track.
“He’s probably the tightest he’s been all preparation. We had him out after his trackwork this morning on the grass giving him a pick and I reckon he looks fantastic,” Corstens said.
“It’s a bit of a question mark, it’s the only box we don’t tick really.
“He’s had two goes on the slow. One was in Adelaide first-up where he pulled his head off and Noel Callow said he didn’t handle it, so we’re not sure about that one.
“Then he had a go on it at Caulfield and ran third, and it wasn’t a bad run. We were trying to avoid wet tracks but when you’re going into weight-for-age, Group 1, 2000m worth $4 million you’re sort of obliged to run.
“We’ve got 5 of 6 races before ours, so I think it’s best to watch what the pattern of the day is doing. We’re probably in a good position where we can roll forward if we need to, but if they’re swooping all day we can probably go back as well.
“I’m confident he’ll run very well.”
Capping a strong 2015 campaign with success in the Listed Symphony Stakes (1800m), Awesome Rock resumed this time for twelfth in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m); progressing to fourth in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) a fortnight prior to the Australian Cup.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Queen Elizabeth Stakes odds, for which Awesome Rock can be taken at a particularly generous quote of $41 for success in the unique Epic Odds market!