It was great to see the New Zealand-bred three-year-old YORKSHIRE ROCK a son of Road To Rock (the best performed son a Encosta De Lago at stud), break his maiden status at the Bathurst races last Tuesday 20th May 2017. There was another reason to celebrate the victory, that being his jockey, South African-born Travis Block, rode his first winner in Australia after arriving from England and being off the scene for nearly seven years.
The track was ideal, rated a Good 4, racing for the day would be held under fine conditions. YORKSHIRE ROCK was to carry 58.5kgs and the pair had drawn the inside gate out of the twelve allocated. The betting market showed that YORKSHIRE ROCK was totally unfancied drifting from $21 out to $41 at start time.
The race was the fifth of the day, a 1406 metres event with metropolitan trainers having four of the twelve runners including the favourite the Bjorn Baker-trained Money Travels ($2.40).
YORKSHIRE ROCK missed the start slightly from his inside gate, but under Travis’s urgings was able to maintain the inside running and after going a hundred metres the pair had their momentum up. At that point the jockey eased slightly, a further one hundred metres on saw them travelling comfortably, third back on the rails.
On towards the 1000 metres marker it was Want To Bolt sharing the lead with I Love Buddy and YORKSHIRE ROCK a length away in third. Apart from I Love Buddy taking the outright lead, nothing much changed for the next 400 metres of the race.
Nearing the home turn, Travis asked his mount to lift his rating slightly in order to tag onto the back of the leaders, his call was answered. On the point of the bend, Want To Bolt drifted out about three horses further off of the fence, leaving a gap for YORKSHIRE ROCK to run into.
The duo took the opening and with 200 metres to go were challenging the frontrunner, which was still I Love Buddy. The leader was starting to feel the pinch and shortening stride pretty quickly. YORKSHIRE ROCK, full of running had put a couple of lengths on them, but the challengers were coming.
Firstly, Winterconi was closing on the pair and within the shadows of the post I Arize, which came from along way back, sprouted wings went passed Winterconi but couldn’t catch YORKSHIRE ROCK. The winning margin was just over one and a half lengths, the time taken for the journey was 1:22.70 which will stand as a record.
Congratulations on the win to all concerned, it was a bit of a Singleton affair actually. Owned by Scott and Dad Ian and trained by Scott. Given that experience your horse should go on the winner’s list again soon.