Time has been called on outstanding sprinter Roch ‘N’ Horse, who will begin the next phase of her career at owners Sam and Catriona Williams’ Little Avondale Stud.
The daughter of farm resident Per Incanto met and bettered the cream of Australia’s short course specialists at Group One level with Flemington victories in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and the Champions’ Sprint (1200m).
She has been retired as the winner of five of her 23 starts and with seven placings, including a runner-up finish in the Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m) and a third in the Gr.1 William Reid Stakes (1200m). The six-year-old banked more than A$3 million in prizemoney.
Following due diligence, Williams confirmed Roch ‘N’ Horse will visit Rich Hill Stud’s outstanding stallion Proisir, who heads the New Zealand Sires’ Premiership this season.
“She has retired sound and a very happy mare. There was nothing else left for her to prove,” Sam Williams said.
“She won the two biggest sprints in Victoria and Catriona and I watch those replays all the time and she has done us proud, she’s done the whole syndicate proud and it’s just been fantastic.”
Roch ‘N’ Horse was bred by Little Avondale Stud and raced with a group comprising of Catriona’s parents Stuart and Rosie McLeod, Adrian Cassin, Graeme and Barbara Pickering, Rob Wilson, Mike Smith, Catwalk Deputy Chairman Grant Sharman, William Parkinson and Paul Collett who all enjoyed leased interests during the mare’s racing career.
“They are a great bunch of people and we all had a lot of fun. Everyone had an absolute blast,” Williams said.
The curtain came down on Roch ‘N’ Horse’s career after unplaced runs in the Gr.1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and the Gr.1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville.
“We’ll let her get over her Adelaide trip before she gets on a plane home,” Williams said.
“Her last two runs were plagued by wet tracks, which she is definitely not a fan of and has no form on them at all.
“We certainly didn’t want her going around just for the sake of extra prizemoney, she’s a multiple Group One winner and couldn’t have done anymore. She’s now ready to begin her next chapter.”
Williams said there was never any thought given to selling such a commercially valuable mare.
“She was always coming home, this is what breeding is about. For Catriona and I it is the legacy of the stud, we have the stallions but the stud is really proven by the strength of its female lines,” he said.
“That’s the way I was brought up and she will be our pride and joy on the farm and it’s nice that she is entering the broodmare band one season behind Belluci Babe, also a stakes-winning mare by Per Incanto.
“It’s nice to have these sorts of mares in the broodmare band and they will be the future of the stud for the next 10 or 15 years, it’s a pretty cool time.
“Per Incanto has been an amazing sire and his broodmare sire qualities are going from strength to strength.”
Williams considered a raft of stallions across Australasia for Roch ‘N’ Horse’s first mating before booking her to Proisir.
“There was a lot of temptation in Australia as she’s there, but you definitely want to go to a proven stallion first-up,” he said.
“Proisir (by Choisir) has that Danehill sire-line, which she doesn’t have, and it’s a great nick with Per Incanto.
“There’s no other stallion doing it better at the moment than Proisir, he’s had five Group One winners in a season and that’s phenomenal.”
Roch ‘N’ Horse was initially trained at Matamata by Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard before she joined the former’s Flemington base.
“Mike has just been inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall Of Fame and that’s pretty special to have been part of that legacy with Roch ‘N’ Horse as well,” Williams said.
“She started off with Pam and she did an incredible job getting her through to the Telegraph and then Mike and his team did an amazing job.
“We had two wonderful jockeys aligned to her in Patrick Moloney and Jamie Mott, it was Patrick’s first Group One win in the Newmarket and Jamie’s second when they won the Champions’ Sprint.”