Group 1 Glory for On The Rocks (NZ)

Breednet - Saturday February 9
$40,000 Select Sale graduate On The Rocks (NZ) (Alamosa) was already a dual Group 2 winner who had delivered priceless thrills for his owners, but he went to a new level in Saturday's $400,000 Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa.

On The Rocks wins the richest WFA race in New Zealand. Photo: Trish Dunell.With an emphatic performance in New Zealand's richest weight-for-age race, the four-year-old entire took his prize-money earnings to $432,575 – more than 10 times his purchase price.

"He's a great little horse," co-trainer Pam Gerard said. "He's been underrated all the way along. He's only a little grey thing, but he has a huge heart. He's a stable pet and we all love him.

"He's still an entire, but we'd never really considered the prospect of a stallion career – maybe that could change now.

"He races for a crazy group of owners. We're all having so much fun, and hopefully he's not finished yet."

Ridden by Jake Bayliss, On The Rocks settled midfield before swinging out wide to make his run in the straight.

The grey stretched out impressively to win by a length and a quarter from the second-placed Tiptonic (NZ) (O'Reilly), who was a $100,000 purchase at the 2015 Premier Sale and has now earned $186,700 in stakes. On The Rocks and Tiptronic also finished first and second in last month's $100,000 Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie.

On The Rocks has now had 12 starts for five wins and two placings for owners Ballymore Stables NZ Ltd, A Clark, N Gurney, A Mathieson, On The Rocks Syndicate, D P Sinn, Richard Sims, Jim Bebedellis, George Alas and John McNicholas.

His previous black-type wins came in the Rich Hill Mile, the $100,000 Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and the $50,000 Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m).

"This horse is as tough as nails and you couldn't hope for better owners to ride for," Bayliss said. It's really special to ride the first Group One winner for Pam, who's been like family to me. This is one of the highlights of my career.

"We're on a great ride with this horse. You think back to his maiden win at Tauranga, and look what he's done now."

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