Brilliant sprinter Love Rocks made light of knee problems to get within a breath of the Doomben 1100-metre record after a long break on Saturday.
Starting favourite, Love Rocks ($2.20) hadn’t raced since winning the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes in December but gave nothing else a chance with a display of speed in the Caitlin Forrest Memorial.
The five-year-old gelding has off-set knees, which have restricted him to just 12 starts but there is no doubt he is one of the fastest horses to race in Brisbane for many years.
He has clocked well above average times at his last four wins and Saturday was no different as he ran a slippery 1min3.46secs carrying 59.5kg.
The time was only a half second outside Star Of Florida’s long-standing course record.
Trainer Steve Tregea has done a good job nursing Love Rocks through his career and does not make long-term plans with the him.
“If you saw him as a young horse in the paddock you would have thought he would never race,” Tregea said.
“But as he got older his shoulders got stronger and one thing he is very correct in his action.
“I haven’t really got any major plans for him. Hopefully, he won’t get too much more in the weights as I don’t want to be forced interstate.
Love Rocks was having his first start in 10 months but Tregea had gradually got him fit with an impressive Toowoomba barrier trial win last month.
“I admit I am very relieved and I am pleased for the horse,” he said.
“I told James (jockey James Orman) to ride him for speed and he crossed and led easily enough. I just hope he continues to stand up.”
Meanwhile, smart mare Queen Of The Lochs will step up in distance after winning her first open-company race in the Iveco Handicap (1200m).
Trainer Mick Mair was in Gympie to saddle The Blizzard in the local Cup but stable representative Belinda Ross said Queen Of The Lochs would gradually go up in distances.
“Mick has always believed she can win up to 1600 metres and we have gradually got the weight off her this campaign,” she said.