Day At The Track

Trials point to Im Rockaria

03:49 PM 17 May 2018 NZST
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Im Rockaria, harness racing
Im Rockaria
Gloucester Park Photo

Highly promising four-year-old Im Rockaria looks set to make a successful return to harness racing after impressive victories in recent trials at Pinjarra.

The Michael Brennan-trained gelding will be driven by Michael Grantham from the 10-metre mark in a 2503m stand, the Alltools Gift Vouchers Handicap, at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Im Rockaria, who will be having his first start for four months, performed stylishly on a heavy track in a 2185m mobile trial at Pinjarra last Sunday week. After settling down in third place in the five-horse trial, Im Rockaria dashed to the front after 500m and relished his pacemaking role as he sped over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 28sec. to beat Ideal Tyson by two and a half lengths at a 1.57.5 rate.

In a 2185m trial a week earlier, Im Rockaria led early and then sat behind the pacemaker Well Enough Said before finishing determinedly to beat that pacer by a head, rating 1.59.8.

The New South Wales-bred Im Rockaria, who has amassed $200,293 from 15 wins and four placings from 32 starts, has raced only once in a stand when he was successful over 2503m at Gloucester Park two starts ago, on January 12 when he started from 10m and raced in seventh position before starting a three-wide move (with cover) 1100m from home. He took the lead at the 250m mark and won from Idealindiamonds and Importer Exporter.

Im Rockaria certainly is unlikely to have things all his own way in an event in which he will clash with talented standing-start performers Lord Willoughby, Better Scoot, Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good.

The Ross Olivieri-trained Lord Willoughby will have many admirers after drawing the pole position on the front line. Confident reinsman Shannon Suvaljko said that planned an all-the-way victory with the ultra-consistent four-year-old who has raced 18 times this season for seven wins, seven seconds and four thirds.

Better Scoot is an extremely promising six-year-old in the Forrestdale stables of Skye Bond. He has not raced since finishing second to Master Jaxon in a 1823m mobile event at Narrogin in October 2016. Two starts before that Better Scoot finished second to Im Full of Excuses in the Kalgoorlie Cup, a stand over 2518m.

Importer Exporter and Tommy Be Good share the back mark of 20m and are sure to be prominent. They are experienced standing-start performers who are racing in fine form.

Ken Casellas

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