Rocking back to NZ

04 April 2024 | Adam Hamilton
Rock N Roll Doo

Rock N Roll Doo Photo by Stuart McCormick

REDEMPTION time starts on Thursday night for star Victorian pacer Rock N Roll Doo.

Owner Brendan James will be hoping it is third time lucky as far as chasing major NZ races goes.

Rock N Roll Doo had an unsuccessful NZ Cup campaign in late 2022 and then landed the "Aussie Lads" slot in last year's Race By Grins before health issues and form slump saw his trip aborted.

"We're thrilled he got a slot (Barrett Homes) this year, and there's definitely some unfinished business," James said.

"We've also got the option to stay for races like the Taylor Mile, Messenger and even the Auckland Cup if we're happy with him over there."

James and trainer Mick Stanley have enlisted the help of top Kiwi trainer Cran Dalgety in a caretaker capacity with Rock N Roll Doo, who opens his NZ campaign from a back row draw in Thursday night's star-studded $NZ60,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge.

The $NZ1mil Race By Grins is at the same track eight days later.

"He hasn't been here long, but he's a big, raw, rubber-neck sort of fella, and we're going to learn a lot more about him in this race," Dalgety said.

"I've been chatting a lot with Mick (Stanley, trainer) and he's told me about his quirks, but the ability is obviously there."

"I'd be pleasantly surprised if he came out and won this week, but, equally, he should run well on his form before leaving Aussie and what we've seen here so far."

"I like the draw, two-out on the back row. He'll be in the running line without doing any work, and you can't say that for quite a few others that draw wide on a track where the first bend comes up really quickly."

"It's a hard race to read, but there's no shortage of nice horses in it."

"We're just looking forward to getting him to the races and seeing where we sit."

"The main reason we're going this week is to find out more about him, and then we can tinker with anything we might need to before the big one the week after."

James confirmed Anthony Butt had been booked to drive Rock N Roll Doo in his NZ races.

Butt has driven him at his past three Aussie runs, including a close second in the Group 1 Lighthorse free-for-all – a Miracle Mile consolation – at Menangle on March 9.

"He's been here about a week and settled in well," Dalgety said. 

"Now it's time to find out more about where we sit with him."

Rock N Roll Doo won the Group 1 Len Smith Mile on September 2, last year, and backed up to add the Maryborough Cup 13 days later.

But the big, rangy pacer has been winless in 10 starts since, albeit his latest second at Menangle was an exciting pointer towards his best form.


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