2017 Australian Cup the Target for Awesome Rock

Co-trainer Troy Corstens has confirmed that Awesome Rock will target the 2017 Australian Cup (2000m) during the Autumn Carnival, following his maiden Group 1 win in the Emirates Stakes over the weekend.

Group 1 winner Awesome Rock will be set for the Australian Cup upon resuming in 2017. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Group 1 winner Awesome Rock will be set for the Australian Cup upon resuming in 2017. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Awesome Rock ran on for a gallant fifth in the major Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22nd, but has shown a clear affiliation with the big Flemington track through his entire racing career and used the surface to his advantage when he beat Hauraki and Seaburge by a length on Saturday.

The Fastnet Rock entire was unlucky to be beaten on protest in the Australian Cup this year, but Corstens said that his Emirates Stakes win has counted for plenty for the horse, team and connections.

“For the owners, it was really well deserved,” Corstens told Racing Ahead.

“Not one of them whinged or moaned about losing that Australian Cup and they took it graciously, and they really deserved that win on Saturday. It was fantastic.

“I thought his run in the Cox Plate was full of merit, the track conditions weren’t to suit and he really bounced out of that. We couldn’t see why he wasn’t a good chance going into Saturday.

“I don’t know why he’s underrated and I don’t know why he was a $17 chance going into Saturday, he’s had a pretty good preparation. He puts in and that’s the main thing for us.”

Corstens confirmed that Awesome Rock will now return to the paddock ahead of his 2017 Australian Cup campaign.

“Awesome Rock is quite sound but gets a few niggles here and there. He’s absolutely bounced out of the run and if there was a Cox Plate next Saturday he’d be in it, but there’s not, so we’re going to go to the paddock,” Corstens said.

“We’ve got an axe to grind there and we’ll be pushing hard to get him into that.

“His record over the 2000m at Flemington is pretty good, so we’ll be heading for that.”

Awesome Rock has posted a commendable four wins and seven minors through his twenty-five start career since debuting in early 2014.

Resuming this time for tenth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), Awesome Rock charged home to win the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 3rd and placed fifth in each of the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) leading into his run in the Cox Plate.

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