Fly Swatter News

Punters caught between Rock and hard place

Monday October 5, 2009
Rock Kingdom represented not only a fine training performance by Gai Waterhouse in taking out the Epsom Handicap at Randwick on Saturday but also a savage form reversal. Only a week earlier Rock Kingdom, without blinkers, was beaten eight lengths over the same course and distance, 1600m, by Road To Rock, which was third behind him in the Epsom. The turnaround was nine lengths. Sure, ground conditions differed. Road To Rock scored on good but Rock Kingdom surged powerfully through slow going. Before Saturday, though, Road To Rock had much better wet-weather credentials. Blinkers were the key with Rock Kingdom. They were dropped for the George Main after being worn when the gelding was second in the Theo Marks at Rosehill previously. Sure manipulation with blinkers is a practical tool for trainers, also used effectively on Shamoline Warrior, for one, at Flemington on Saturday. But he had been beaten a length, not eight, at his previous start without them. Getting a top-liner 100 per cent for a group 1 target is an art form, practised exquisitely by Waterhouse. Still, anyone who backed Rock Kingdom in the George Main is entitled to have a severe attack of the colic.

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