Monday, July 2, 2018
Group 1-winning greyhound Rockoon, for the second time in two weeks, set the track alight at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
A fortnight ago the striking-looking white and black son of Peter Rocket and Raya Riot, when having his first start at the track, was an 11 length winner over Hit The Runway in a 600 metre event, running desperately close to McIvor Verna’s record of 34.84 seconds – 34.86 seconds to be exact.
Compton trainer Tracie Price was unable to get a 600 metre race for Rockoon on Sunday, the result being that he lined up from box eight in a more-than-handy Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake over what some perceived as an unsuitable 512 metres.
With a first split of 4.37 seconds, Solitary Lad ensured the pace was on from the outset but, realistically, by the time the field hit the first turn Rockoon had already put himself in a winning position.
And as the field moved into the back straight, Rockoon smoothly strode past Solitary Lad who is certainly one of the better greyhounds going around Tara Raceway at the moment. Main interest in the race then focused on time and margins.
Ultimately, the winning margin was 9½ lengths, Cryer’s Plugger, another greyhound unfazed by more ground, running second while Solitary Lad was a further 1½ lengths back in third spot.
Needless to say, Price – whose greyhound Magic Assassin holds the record over the now-defunct 277 metre distance – was happy with the result. Even happier, though, when the semaphore board settled on a track record 29.28 seconds as the winning time.
“One down, two to go,” the winning trainer said, suggesting that the 600 metre and 732 metre records also were not beyond Rockoon’s reach. Was he serious? Most assuredly!
Rokoon’s run on Sunday was the third time this year that the 512 metre time has been lowered – Lektra Stomp breaking Mojito Mayhem’s 29.52 seconds with a run of 29.45 seconds in a heat of this year’s Mount Gambier Cup on March 11.
Lektra Stomp then lowered his own record when clocking 29.35 seconds on April 20, winning by 12 lengths over Hit The Runway who seemingly is the whipping boy on the majority of occasions that a quick time is run.
Interestingly, both Lektra Stomp and Rokoon’s dams – Lektra Angie and Raya Riot – trace back to the Hall Of Fame brood bitch Sydney Gem, a daughter of Lively Band and Monalee Again.
Speaking after Sunday’s record-breaking effort, Price said he was seriously looking at running the Keith Hellmuth-owned Rockoon in the Ladbrokes Darwin Cup (537 m), a $25,000-to-the-winner Group 3 event, heats of which will be run on Sunday, July 29 and the final a week later.
“I’ve run it past Keith and he’s left the final decision up to me,” Price said. “Having been up there last year and making the final with Blazing Moment I’ve got some idea of what is required. I reckon it’s a track that favours strong dogs so Rocky would be well suited.”
Meanwhile, Price reports that there is plenty of interest in his recently-whelped Peter Rocket litter which is bred on similar lines to Rockoon, the dam being Headline, a daughter of Raya Riot and a winner of 16 races and more than $53,000 in prizemoney.