Continuing his incredible step-up through the grades He’s Our Rokkii handled his first Group 1 run down under giving the Lindsay Park stable a fourth Caulfield Guineas Day win and second elite level in the Toorak Handicap 2016.
One race earlier on the Caulfield card David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig along with jockey Dwayne Dunn celebrated success in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas with Divine Prophet.
Going back-to-back in the Group 1 mile races, the stable and Dunn combined again and took out the $500,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) with the well-backed favourite He’s Our Rokkii.
Last year in his native New Zealand the now four-year-old son of Roc De Cambes ran fourth in a Group 1 over 1400m, but his Australian trainers had been biding their time targeting the Toorak for his Group 1 debut here.
He’s Our Rokkii won back-to-back Group 3 races over 1600m and 2000m respectively in Sydney during the autumn, returning in late August for a first-up 1400m victory at Caulfield.
He saluted at the same track / distance by 3.25 lengths with regular rider Dunn aboard on September 17, looking the goods for the step-up to a mile in the Toorak.
The plan paid off and He’s Our Rokkii got the job done for the punters giving co-trainer David Hayes his first Toorak Handicap success since the success of Planet Ruler (1988) nearly 30 years earlier.
Like stablemate Divine Prophet in the Guineas, He’s Our Rokkii came away clean from the inside barrier one draw and settled nicely midfield on the inside.
The Toorak Handicap field was led around by the Stuart Webb-trained local Great Esteem in his first run since crossing last for sixth behind Winx in Sydney’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
Darren Weir’s in-form runner Royal Rapture, chasing a sixth win on the trot, settled into second behind the pace-setter while the Michael Moroney-trained High Chaparral stallion Tivaci was tracking third.
Halfway through the race Dunn found himself in an awkward position with the favourite, He’s Our Rokkii with nowhere to go caught-up about five off the leader.
Coming round the bend Dunn angled up, seeking the clear passage on the straight.
He’s Our Rokkii ($2.60) threaded through and got his chance, charging late and getting there right on the line after a luckless run beating home Great Esteem who boxed on well after the on-speed run for second.
Rounding out the Toorak Handicap trifecta in third was Tivaci ($20) adding value to the exotics after sitting just behind the speed and battling on well for the placing in Group 1 company.
“I was getting sucked into a pretty ordinary spot,” Dunn said talking through his ride post-win.
“It was like Alcatraz, I had to get out of there.
“The tempo wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be.
“But he has been coming through the grades beautifully.”
Hayes was thrilled to celebrate the Group 1 wins of the day with his son Ben, now part of the Lindsay Park team, and confirmed the $2 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) was the Grand Final agenda for He’s Our Rokkii at Flemington on November 5.
“I’m over the moon,” he said.
“We’ve sort of been avoiding temptation with him and we just felt it would be best to go through the classes.
“He arrived at Group 1 level and won so we’ll probably go for the Emirates.
“Hopefully after that he’ll be outweighed in the handicaps and he’ll be a weight-for-age horse.”
Back He’s Our Rokkii for his Melbourne Cup Carnival run at the right price online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
2016 Toorak Handicap Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 08/10/2016
|1||4||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||–||1||55kg||$2.50F|
|2||11||GREAT ESTEEM||Stuart Webb||Chris Parnham||0.4L||2||52kg||$31|
|3||13||TIVACI||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||0.9L||4||52kg||$21|
|4||6||ROYAL RAPTURE||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||1L||5||55kg||$11|
|5||1||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||1.5L||9||58kg||$19|
|6||3||BON AURUM||Ciaron Maher||Kerrin McEvoy||1.7L||7||56kg||$7.50|
|7||5||JACQUINOT BAY||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||2.7L||12||55kg||$26|
|8||10||THAMES COURT||David Brideoake||Corey Brown||3.45L||6||52kg||$15|
|9||12||MORAL VICTORY||Tim Martin||Ben Allen (a)||4.45L||3||52kg||$15|
|10||7||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||James McDonald||4.55L||8||54.5kg||$5.50|
|11||9||COSMIC CUBE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||5.8L||11||53kg||$61|
|12||8||MISS ROSE DE LAGO||Danny O’Brien||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||5.9L||10||54kg||$17|
|–||2||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||–||0||–||–|