A masterful training performance by Victorian horseman Robbie Laing saw his smart young filly Missrock win the 2016 Percy Sykes Stakes first-up in Sydney in her sole run of the autumn ahead of a spring return targeting the Thousand Guineas.
The two-year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock won the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on debut last October before a Group 3 third at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
Things went amiss for the very promising galloper however when she fractured her pelvis during a ninth place finish in Sandown’s Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) in mid-November.
The Pearcedale-based Laing was patient with her recovery and had her geared up and ready to go on Day 2 of Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ at Royal Randwick off a lengthy 147 day spell.
Missrock took on a field of fellow two-year-old fillies on Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day in the lucrative $500,000 Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) and proved the horse to beat fresh.
“At the back-end of the carnival this looked a soft race for the amount of prize money,” Laing said.
“There were lots of ifs and she had a shocking injury at Sandown.
“But she’s done a remarkable job.
“It goes to show when they’ve got the big V8 engine and they try and want to win they can.”
Ridden by flying hoop Hugh Bowman in his second win from four races on the card, Missrock was settled off the pace throughout the sprint clash with the race favourite Thyme For Roses leading them around.
From the outside alley the Gai Waterhouse-trained top fancy shot out of the gates to hit the front, racing keenly in the lead ahead of Geneteau.
Thyme For Roses was cuddled in the lead around the turn by her hoop Tim Clark, but dropped out of contention on the straight as the challenges came.
Travelling swiftly up on the outside were Missrock and the Sam Pritchard-Gordon-trained Soviet Secret, while Kris Lees’ Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) third placed Twist Tops was the hard luck story blocked for a run.
In a tight and gutsy late effort by the winner, Missrock ($15) at double figures put her head through to win narrowly from a brave Waterhouse-trained Prompt Response ($6) coming off the Magic Night fourth.
Finishing off the Percy Sykes Stakes trifecta in third was a fast-finishing Spright ($17) ridden from the inside alley by Tommy Berry in her second third from as many starts at the Randwick track following the good effort behind subsequent Golden Slipper fourth placegetter and ATC Sires’ runner-up Telperion from mid-February.
Missrock was under pressure the whole way but kept finding something for Bowman who described her as a “beautiful” filly.
Laing said plans were now to head back to the paddock for a freshen-up before the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival where Missrock would target the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield over the mile in October.
“She’s got Thousand Guineas written all over her,” he said.
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2016 Percy Sykes Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 4 – 09/04/2016
|1||2||MISSROCK||Robbie Laing||Hugh Bowman||–||5||55kg||$11|
|2||9||PROMPT RESPONSE||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||0.2L||7||54kg||$6|
|3||8||SPRIGHT||Garry Frazer||Tommy Berry||1L||1||54kg||$17|
|4||5||SOVIET SECRET||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Dwayne Dunn||1.1L||3||54kg||$9|
|5||1||THYME FOR ROSES||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||1.8L||10||56kg||$4.80F|
|6||3||TWIST TOPS||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||2.5L||4||54kg||$5|
|7||12||PALOMINO||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2.8L||6||54kg||$15|
|8||6||EMPHATICALLY||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||3.8L||11||54kg||$13|
|9||7||NAJMAAT||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||4.7L||2||54kg||$10|
|10||4||SO SERENE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damien Oliver||7.6L||9||54kg||$21|
|11||10||GENETEAU||Bjorn Baker||Damian Lane||9.3L||8||54kg||$21|
|–||11||GRETNA||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||–||0||–||–|