A patient ride by Hugh Bowman has helped Rocha Clock land a brilliant come-from-behind win at Randwick and put herself back in the picture for a shot at the Inglis 3YO Guineas.
The John O’Shea-trained filly disappointed first-up in stakes grade during the autumn carnival when she was ridden out of her comfort zone on the speed.
Reverting to her usual racing pattern in Saturday’s Ranvet’s Power Formula Handicap (1300m) on the Kensington track, Rocha Clock responded with a dashing victory.
“She exceeded expectations today to be fair,” O’Shea said.
“We just wanted to make sure we got back in the game after the unfortunate episode last start.
“First-up it looked to be no speed on paper and consequently we took the opportunity in a Group Three to ride her forward and try to get some black-type.
“In retrospect, they ended up getting along at a good gallop as a lot of the others had the same approach.
“It was a beautiful ride by Hugh (on Saturday). When she relaxes she has a devastating turn of foot.”
Bowman took Rocha Clock back to last from an outside draw and had a few anxious moments midrace when the tempo was only average.
But once he hooked her to the outside in the straight, Rocha Clock let fly with a devastating run to beat So Taken by a length with Sakura another 1-1/4 lengths back.
“I was a bit worried about the 800. I thought it was too slow for us but I was following So Taken and I knew she would take me right into it, so I was comfortable I was behind the right horse,” Bowman said.
“Even at the 300 when So Taken let go I thought, ‘we’ll do well to pick it up’, but I still hadn’t asked my filly for an effort and when I came over her heels, it was all over within a stride.”
The win gave Bowman a treble after earlier victories aboard the Chris Waller-trained Yonkers and Dirty Work for Team Hawkes, while Rocha Clock took her record to five wins from seven starts.
O’Shea confirmed she would head to the Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) at Rosehill in two weeks before a possible winter carnival campaign in Queensland.
“She will get an opportunity to race against the colts there and then she is on track to possibly go to Queensland for a stakes race up there,” O’Shea said.