Rock On Wood (Ryan Elliot, left) fights off Beauden (Chris Johnson) to win at Awapuni.
Exciting galloper Rock On Wood delivered a special result for Leanne Elliot and her son in today’s $30,000 Ricoh Premier at Awapuni.
Trained by Leanne Elliot at Levin and ridden by leading apprentice jockey Ryan, the four-year-old son of Redwood dropped out to last in a 10-horse field for the 1600-metre Rating 82.
He produced a scintillating finish in the straight, weaving through gaps and bursting into contention in a handful of strides. Second favourite Beauden fought back gamely on his inside, but Rock On Wood extinguished that challenge and won by a short head.
Based in the northern region, Ryan Elliot has limited opportunities to ride for his mother, but he has now won five races for her from 17 rides. Four of those have been on Rock On Wood.
“It’s very special riding a horse for Mum – especially when it wins,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.”
The 20-year-old was highly impressed by Rock On Wood’s performance today to beat Beauden, who is trained by his employers Team Rogerson.
“I just wanted to get him to relax today and make sure he ran out the mile,” he said. “I worked my way through, everything opened up in the straight and he just let go. He sprinted really well. He got into a fight with Rogie’s horse and dug deep. He’s quite a special horse.”
Rock On Wood has now won four of his eight starts, and he is unbeaten in two impressive appearances this season.
He showed his quality as a three-year-old last season with eye-catching fourth placings in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic and Gr. 2 Waikato Guineas.
“He’s a lovely horse to have around the stable,” Leanne Elliot said. “I thought he was going to get held up in the straight today, but he got out in time and finished it off really well.
“He’ll definitely improve with this race today, so it’s exciting. We’ll get him home now and just wait and see what comes next.”