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Walker keeps Rockfast on road to Gold

Rockfast - Photo: Singapore Turf

Photo: Singapore Turf

Champion trainer Mark Walker is again praying for rain ahead of Rockfast's run in the $200,000 Group 3 Committee's Prize (1600m) on Sunday.

The Kiwi has long held the view the Fastnet Rock five-year-old grows another leg when the sting is out of the ground, more so when he is running over distances not made to suit.

Which will be the case on Sunday as Walker considers distances upwards of 1800m as the province for the Te Akau Racing Stable-owned galloper.

But one unwelcome guest he is praying will stay out of the equation this time around is interference.

Rockfast was backed down to favouritism at his last start following his closing third place in a 1400m race when resuming from a short layoff since his third in the Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m). Ridden by Walker's apprentice Ng Choon Kiat, Rockfast was aiming for a rails run at the 300m when Pachelbel's Canon (Mohd Firdaus) veered in, cutting short his progression and snuffing out any chance of claiming victory, which in the end went to Kirks Ryker, whom he will incidentally again bump into in the Committee's Prize.

Whether his charge could have won without the incident, Walker is not going down that path, but he is certain he would have done better than a six-length fifth.

"He was very unlucky at his last race as he was coming into the race quite well. It wasn't CK's fault but the other horse rolled in and took his running," said Walker.

"Whether he would have won, I'm not sure, but the most important thing is he's pulled up okay.

"I've kept him pretty fresh since and the Committee's Prize was always a race for him, gearing up towards the Gold Cup. His record over the mile is okay, but he needs a bit of rain to be competitive over that distance, to win, basically."

Walker reiterated that Rockfast was bypassing the first two Legs of the upcoming Singapore Triple Crown series, the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile (1600m) on October 9 and the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m) on October 30, but will probably have one or two lead-up runs until the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) on November 20.

"I will probably run him in the El Dorado Classic (2200m) which will be held on the same day as the Raffles Cup," he said.

"It's the race Sebrose won last year. In a way, he's following a similar sort of programme as Sebrose, who like him, ran in the Derby, and then skipped the first two Legs."

The son of Sebring eventually ran fourth to Cooptado in the Gold Cup, and has not won since before being shipped back to New Zealand due to a lack of staying races at Kranji.

Walker has always believed Rockfast was a marginally better horse than Sebrose, especially after he hit his straps this year when it began with a dead-heat with Infantry before going on to score back-to-back wins over 2000m heading into the Derby.

"He was a bit disappointing at first, but he has got fitter since he's acclimatised. He's put in some solid efforts all season," said Walker.

"Derreck David will take the ride as he's got a light weight (50.5kg) on Sunday." - Singapore Turf Club


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