Horses To Follow » Three Rocks

Three Rocks

Three Rocks sure doesn’t make life easy for himself. Slowly away when he landed a six-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Lincoln day, he was again slowly away in a seven-furlong handicap at Leopardstown on Sunday. Fully four lengths behind the second last horse and about eight lengths behind the leader before they had gone 100 yards, he had to make his ground on the outside of the entire field. At least five horse-widths wide all the way around the home turn, he inexorably clawed his way up to the leaders up the home straight, collared Empirical Power with 150 yards to run, and went on to win by quite a cosy two lengths in the end.

This was quite an impressive performance. Given that Empirical Power almost succeeded in making all, and kept on to dead-heat with Mourinho for second place, it is probable that the early pace wasn’t too fast and therefore not the type of pace that would set it up for a late closer. Three Rocks had to do a lot of running to get there, but he displayed a willing attitude, as a lot of the Coolcullen horses do, once he got out of the stalls, and ran willingly all the way to the line. His Curragh win was over six furlongs on soft ground, this win was over seven furlongs on good to firm, so he appears to be versatile in terms of distance and ground.

He was competing on Sunday off an 11lb higher mark than the mark off which he was successful at The Curragh, and it is probable that he is not finished improving yet. The time of the race was exactly a second faster than the time recorded by Maoineach in the 1000 Guineas Trial over the same course and distance a half an hour later, and that was even with Three Rocks walking out of the traps. If he can be coaxed out upsides his rivals in the future, there should be at least a decent handicap in him, and he should be good enough to take the step up to listed or Group 3 company at least. As long as the handicapper isn’t too harsh, he could be in line for something like the Victoria Cup over seven furlongs at Ascot in mid-May.

29th March, 2009