Harness - News

Heaven Rocks under offer to USA

  • Tue, 20 Feb 2018
  • Matt Markham
Heaven Rocks and Natalie Rasmussen winning at Addington. Photo: Race Images.

Heaven Rocks and Natalie Rasmussen winning at Addington. Photo: Race Images.

Outstanding but erratic pacer Heaven Rocks is under offer to American interests and could be stateside by the end of the month.

Co-owner Phil Kennard confirmed to NZ Harness News this morning that the owners of the big gelding had accepted an offer and now it was a case of waiting for the buyers to complete their due diligence before he departed Australasian shores.

The decision came with mixed emotions for the group according to Kennard who said although he’s tested their patience on numerous occasions during his career, he’s also given them some incredible thrills.

“It’s been an interesting ride, that’s for sure,” Kennard said.

“He’s given us all some wonderful thrills, but going to watch him is a bit like going to a rodeo, you just don’t quite know what’s going to happen.”

Kennard said the horse was still in good health and capable of racing competitively in the high grades, but his manners have unfortunately meant he has always been chasing the good ones.

“If you go back through most of his runs, he’s had to chase because he’s come off the unruly or been slow away or done things wrong.

“He’s put up some phenomenal performances at times, to run a length and a half behind Vincent, who Mark thinks is the next big thing, in the Auckland Cup was huge.

“But eventually, that could break his heart and none of us want that to happen.”

Heaven Rocks is a multiple Group One winner, including last season’s Easter Cup and 4YO Emerald at the Harness Jewels.

He raced for Kennard, his wife Glenys, Phil and Margaret Creighton, Gavin Douglas and Kevin Riseley on 27 occasions, winning 12 and placings a further six times for close to $500,000 in earnings.

It’s never nice selling a horse who has given you such a great ride Kennard said, but at the end of the day the owners had made the decision based on what was best for the horse, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and for them in the long run.

“It would have been hard for him next season, off the unruly and chasing not only Lazarus, but probably Vincent too.

“The treatments he can get over in America will help him greatly and it will free up a lot of time around the stable because he requires attention above and beyond most other horses.”

It is likely, unfortunately, that Heaven Rocks’ last run as a Kiwi will go down as one of his worst, with his effort to finish last in the Allied Express Sprint on Saturday night at Menangle.

“With the virus that had been going through the barn we weren’t that confident, he hadn’t really handled the retention barn too well, either.

“But he was pretty ordinary by his standards.”

With just the minor details to be worked out by the interested party, Kennard expected that Heaven Rocks could be on his way to America within a fortnight.