A midweek Sandown success could be the stepping stone to richer prizes for the lightly raced He’s Our Rokki.
The Lindsay Park-trained three-year-old could be Sydney-bound for some of the lesser features during the autumn carnival, but it’s as a four-year-old he is expected to make his mark.
Stable spokesman Bruno Rouge-Serret said co-trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig had a good opinion of the gelding.
“What he’s showing us now is he’s a brilliant horse at the mile and there might be a couple of suitable races for him in Sydney during the carnival,” Rouge-Serret said.
“David, Tom and the owners have always had a big opinion of him but he’s probably not going to reach his best until he’s a four-year-old.”
Ridden by Dwayne Dunn, He’s Our Rokki was sent out the $2.20 favourite in Wednesday’s benchmark 70 at Sandown and scored by 1-1/2 lengths from Cool Chap ($3.80) with Skulduggery ($13) a length away third.
“I’ve had a very big opinion of this horse and he’s starting to live up to it, but realistically he’s B Grade at the moment,” Dunn said.
“We’ve got some very good three-year-olds around at the moment, but he’s a top class horse who should show it at four.
“If he ran around on Saturday (in the Australian Guineas) he probably runs midfield and that would be a `PB’ for him.”
Victorian apprentice Jye McNeil took the honours in the opening race of the National Apprentice Riders series when he guided Land Of Freedom to victory over Tigdig Tigdig ridden by South Australia’s Zac Spain.
Spain copped a dressing down from chief steward Terry Bailey for trying to pressure Tasmanian apprentice Raquel Clark’s mount Jester Angel into the fence as the pair raced tight for around 400 metres.
Bailey told Spain he was expected to hold his line or his actions could lead to an improper riding charge similar to the one that resulted in a 32-meeting suspension for Chad Schofield in 2013.
McNeil later completed a winning double aboard Paradanza in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap and now has nine winners to go to outride his claim before his apprenticeship ends in May.
A spate of late scratchings knocked around later races on the eight-event program following a track upgrade from a good 3 after the second race.