Co-trainer Troy Corstens has revealed a bold plan for stable star Awesome Rock to run in the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan Racecourse, following a three-start Autumn Carnival preparation in 2017.
Awesome Rock has been a strong and consistent performer for Team Corstens throughout his entire racing career so far, but has undoubtedly stepped up in class and ability throughout and impressive 2016 campaign.
Having sent the five-year-old to the paddock after he posted a well-deserved and maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) on November 5th, Corstens told Racing Victoria that the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) will likely figure as the autumn Launchpad for Awesome Rock, ahead of the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Australian Cup (200m).
“It’s just been confirmed in the last couple of days that, all being well, he’ll run in the Dubai Turf, which is an 1800m Group 1 worth US$6 million, which is two weeks after the Australian Cup,” Corstens said.
“It’s nice to have that long-range plan there. I think it would be very good for the horse and great for the owners, and good for Dad (co-trainer Leon Corstens) and myself as well.
“The C.F. Orr Stakes is an extremely important race for him, it would be really good to get the Group 1 WFA over 1400m against his name.
“I think that could add a bit of value to his stud career going forward, and I think it’s a really good race for him to kick off in again.
“He’s come back terrific, he hasn’t put on a stack of weight, he’s got a little bit of cover over his ribs. He looked quite tight when he went out, and he’s done exceptionally.
“He’s a stallion and we were very mindful of him doing too well in the paddock, so we were very careful, we went out and monitored him twice when he was out in the three-week period.”
Awesome Rock has posted a career total of four wins and seven minors through twenty-five starts, since making his competitive debut in the early stages of 2014.
Resuming this year for twelfth in the CF Orr Stakes, the Fastnet Rock entire progressed to fourth in the Peter Young Stakes before he was first past the post in the Australian Cup, only to lose on protest to the Chris Waller-trained Preferment.
Returning to the paddock after failing to fire in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), Awesome Rock clearly required the run when tenth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 13th, but responded in the best way possible with a dominant win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 3rd.
Running fifth in each of the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), Awesome Rock produced a strong turn of foot late to finish fifth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22nd, in what was his only other start prior to the Emirates Stakes.