After nearly a year off the racing scene Rock On Wood is shaping into a very progressive racehorse.
His recent win in the Listed ANZAC Mile (1600m) at Awapuni extended his unbeaten record this campaign to three and marked his fifth career win from just nine starts.
Rock On Wood is trained in Levin by Leanne Elliot and she races the four-year-old with her mother Jill Ker, and her son Ryan, the country’s leading apprentice jockey, has ridden the gelding in all five of his victories.
As a three-year-old Rock On Wood won two races and was placed fourth in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) and the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m), before being put aside for a lengthy spell and given the time to mature.
He is the third foal from the Catcher In The Rye mare Rock On Rye and was bred by the syndicate that originally raced her out of Peter Rudkin’s Christchurch stable. Now she is owned by Rudkin and his partner Alexis White and is the only mare they are breeding from.
Rudkin bought Rock On Rye out of Tony Pike’s stable after she had won two races and she went on to win a further four races in the South Island for her new owners.
Following Rock on Rye’s retirement she was bred to Per Incanto and left a colt that was later euthanised after an accident with a fence. She was then bred to Westbury’s Stud’s Redwood after Rudkin was offered a nomination to the son of High Chaparral by Craig Dawson.
“One of my owners, Craig Dawson, is a shareholder in Redwood and he offered me the nomination, which I accepted, and I sent her there two years in a row,” Rudkin said. “To be fair, all the credit for the mating should go to him.”
The first mating produced Youvebeenlitup who has won one race, and the second produced Rock On Wood.
Both colts were sold at Karaka in the Festival Sale through Long Acre Stud’s draft, with Youvebeenlitup reaching $34,000, while Jill Ker paid $26,000 for Rock On Wood.
Rock on Rye subsequently slipped her Remind mating and then visited Zacinto where she produced another colt, which sold for $42,000 as a weanling at Karaka, but also came to an untimely end in Australia.
Rock On Rye was sent north again to revisit Redwood and she produced a colt which went through the Long Acres Book 2 draft at Karaka this year where he was purchased by Gary Carvell of Hiwi Lodge for $65,000.
“We were hoping for a little bit more as we knew Rock On Wood was smart and what high regard Leanne had for him, but unfortunately he didn’t come up until the autumn,” Rudkin said.
“We were happy enough but we are excited about what he is doing as a racehorse and what the next one might sell for. He certainly looks like he’s going to be quite smart.”
After missing to Zacinto, Rock On Rye returned to Redwood again and she is safely in foal to that stallion. She is also now in residence at Craig Dawson’s farm at Matakana, north of Auckland, as Rudkin is also on the move.
“I am giving up my trainer’s licence and moving north. I have trained for Terry Lines and over the past few months I have been doing a bit of work for his Vernon and Vazey Truck parts company. Racing isn’t thriving here at the moment,” he said.
“I am originally from Cambridge and have been training in the South Island for the last 30 years or so. It’s time to go back north and we will be based in Matamata”. - NZTBA