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Can the Rock become a Hero?

 Oct 10 2013

Last season's Spring Champion Stakes provided racegoers with a memory to savour as It's A Dundeel sprouted wings and lunged past Proisir in one final, desperate stride to claim victory.

In just three career starts, the son of High Chaparral had risen from relative obscurity to achieving the sport's highest accolade and Group One glory.

For many of this Saturday's Spring Champion Stakes contenders, a similar story will need to unfold. 
The David Payne-trained Rock Hero (currently at $5.50 Fixed Odds with displayed untapped ability last Saturday with an ultra-impressive victory in the Dulcify Handicap.

The performance oozed 'wow-factor', however, history may be against him.

The last horse to complete the Dulcify Quality/Spring Champion Stakes double came in 1997 in the shape of Guy Walter's handy gelding Tie The Knot…handy to the point where he won 13 Group 1 events during his illustrious career.

For trainer David Payne, it would be a nostalgic triumph.  The South African-born horseman trained Rock Hero's dam Gallant Tess, a multiple Group 1 placegetter and Stakes winner.

Similarly, it has been a meteoric rise to racing's top level for the Sheikh Mohammed-owned Complacent ($4.60). 
The Peter Snowden-trained colt burst into Spring Champion Stakes calculations with a Gloaming Stakes success over Victoria Derby favourite Savvy Nature.

Complacent could kick-start a dream day for Darley.  With stablemate Long John currently holding sway in the Caulfield Guineas market, the powerful stable could produce two coveted three-year-old Group One winners on Saturday.
Anthony Cummings has twice tasted success in the Spring Champion Stakes thanks to his grand gallopers Teranaba and Hotel Grand.

Cummings will be searching for his third success on Saturday with his promising prospect Drago ($8 with

The stable has always held high hopes for the talented young stayer, but to date, he has only managed to enter the winner's stall on one occasion, so Saturday must surely be 'D-Day' for the colt if he is to head south for a tilt at the Victoria Derby. As they say, if the blinkers go on, the gloves come off!

The support race on the program this Saturday at Randwick is the Group 3 Angst Stakes for fillies and mares. The market at present is wide open and Sharnee Rose ($6 Fixed Odds with appears to be a solid wagering proposition after her last start conquest of seasoned campaigners Red Tracer, Bennetta and Appearance.

Don't forget to join myself, Duff, Richard and Benz for a comprehensive review of Saturday's mammoth meetings at Randwick & Caulfield on our special 90 minute Spring Carnival edition of Racing Retro at 8.30am (AEDT).

Good luck and I hope you find a winner or three!


By Matthew Browning

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