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It's rocking on for Wellfield Lodge

Rock On (NZ) Claims St Leger. Photo: Race Images, Palmerston North.

Rock On (NZ) Claims St Leger. Photo: Race Images, Palmerston North.
As sponsors of the New Zealand Oaks, the team at Wellfield Lodge in the Manawatu always look forward to that event at Trentham.

This year it proved to be a very special race meeting and eventful weekend when Rock On(Road To Rock[AUS]-St Jessie), bred by the stud's proprietors and in their colours, won the Listed St Leger Stakes.

"Actually it was a great day for us," said Bill Gleeson a Director of the farm and co-breeder of Rock On.

"Bronsteel by Handsome Ransom (AUS) won the first race, we won the St Leger and Boxachocolates by Alamosa won the last."

Handsome Ransom previously stood at Wellfield Lodge, and Alamosa is on the current stallion roster with Road To Rock and Vespa.

But the success for Road To Rock didn't stop there. Later in the day at Te Rapa All Roads(ex Dancing Daze) finished second to the highly regarded Hiflyer, while on Sunday Lofoten Road(ex Vestvagoy)won in Victoria and then Beauty Generation (ex Stylish Bel) ran third in the Group One Hong Kong Derby. To round the weekend off She Rocks (ex Keisano) won a NZB Insurance Pearl Series Bonus race on Monday.

Rock On was bred by Gleeson and his partner Tanya Goss from St Jessie a Jetball(AUS) mare they raced out of Chris Waller's stable when he first started training in Sydney.

He was the sixth foal from the mare who had already left four winners, and being a nice colt was despatched to the yearling sales at Karaka.

Gleeson picks up the story.

"He sold for $70,000 but failed the scope with a viral issue which was treatable with medication. The purchaser took him home and treated him and the issue passed after four weeks, but as he had purchased a few more horses during the sales he decided to return Rock On".

"At the same sale Gary Vile had bought a yearling for a syndicate and it turned out to be a wobbler, well they got the insurance for that, and as he had a syndicate in place they decided to buy this fellow instead, and I took a share as well".

"Gary liked him from day one and has always had a big opinion of him. Before he won the St Leger we also had the Hawkes Bay Cup in mind, but now we are looking at taking him to Randwick for the Group Two Chairman's Handicap in a couple of weeks.

"That will give him a trip away and be a good test for him, as we believe he will stay all day and we would like to aim him for the Melbourne Cup this November. That is the long term plan".

"We raced St Jessie out of Sydney and won a Group Three with her here in New Zealand. She is in foal to Road to Rock and also has a filly foal by him. We have also kept a three-year-old filly called Jessiegee by Alamosa which hasn't raced, as well as the two-year-old filly and yearling colt by Road To Rock."

Gleeson had previously raced a close relation to the dam of St Jessie and that was his first encounter with the family.

"I raced The Big Booper (Zabeel-Straight Line) with Peter Gillespie and Guy Sargent, and we decided to buy Be Bop A Lula (by Kaapstad) his half sister and race her. She won one race and we put her in foal to Jetball and sold her".

"Shortly after that foal appeared in an Inglis yearling sale in Sydney, and I asked Paul Beamish to buy her for me. We left her there originally with Kerry Jordan but when he gave up we transferred her to Chris Waller who was just starting out. She won 7 races then came home and won the Group Three Great Northern Stakes."

Her three-quarter blood brother, The Big Booper won 13 races in New Zealand and Malaysia including the Group Three White Robe Lodge Handicap. Three other half siblings Obi One, Diamond Dancer and Straight Eight were all Stakes placed winners, and Straight Eight went on to leave the VRC St Leger winner Hippopus (by High Chaparral[Ire]), and the Stakes placed Mapmaker(Volksraad[Ire]).

Road To Rock commenced stud duties at Wellfield Lodge in 2010 as the best performed son by Encosta de Lago(AUS), having won the Group One Queen Elizabeth Handicap and the Group One George Main Stakes. He is the sire of 48 individual winners and Rock On is his first Stakes winner, he has also left Beauty Generation who as Montaigne won two races in Sydney before running second in the Group One Rosehill Guineas, third in the Group Two Hobartville Stakes, and fourth in the Group One BMW before being sold to Hong Kong. He has won a further race in Hong Kong and been placed in the Hong Kong Derby and the Hong Kong Classic Mile.

"Road To Rock's progeny just take a little bit of time, it's difficult to market them because of that, and we have basically stopped taking them to the yearling sales, preferring to sell them off the farm when they have shown something".

"If you are patient you are well rewarded, though Allan Sharrock has loads of time for Art Deco (Road To Rock-Something Special) he has had 11 starts for four wins, five seconds and two thirds, he has never been out of the money. He's a bit special and will be back on the racetrack again soon".

"They are nice horses when they mature. All Roads is another that should develop into a Stakes winner, he is already Stakes placed after running second in the Rich Hill Mile. If they are managed properly they are better off".

"He only served 26 mares last year, that's his smallest crop since he commenced stud duties in 2010, and most of those mares were ours. I think we are breeding him a lot better now and selecting mares that really suit him," concluded Gleeson, "he is definitely capable of leaving a very good horse." – Michelle Saba