After nearly a year off the racing scene Rock On Wood (Redwood[GB]- Rock On Rye[AUS]) is shaping into a very progressive racehorse.
His recent win in the Listed ANZAC Mile at Awapuni was his third in this campaign from three starts, and his fifth in total from only nine career starts.
Rock On Wood is trained at Levin by Leanne Elliot and is raced by her and her mother Jill Ker, and in his last three wins has been ridden by the Elliot’s son Ryan – the country’s leading apprentice.
As a three-year-old Rock On Wood won two races and was placed fourth in the Gr.1 Levin Classic and the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas, before being put aside for a lengthy spell, and given the time to mature.
He is the third foal from the Catcher In The Rye (IRE) mare Rock On Rye and was bred by the syndicate that originally raced her out of Peter Rudkin’s Christchurch stable. Now she is owned by Rudkin and his partner Alexis White, and is the only mare they are breeding from.
Rudkin bought Rock On Rye out of Tony Pike’s stable after she had won two races, and for her new owners she won a further four races in the South Island, following on from her mother Beldale Blues who won five races in the South Island. By Beldale Lear (USA) Beldale Blues was a bit of a bridesmaid and was second in the Gr.3 Challenge Stakes, Listed South Island Breeders Stakes, Listed Otago Breeders Stakes, Listed Inglewood Stakes, and third in the Listed Gore Guineas.
She was retired to stud in Australia and has left one other winner to date in Spinning The Blues. She was a half-sister to Likeable Will (by His Royal Highness) who won 13 races in South Australia and was third in the Gr.3 SAJC Spring Stakes.
This is also the family that in more recent years has produced the group one winners Embellish and Sacred Star.
Getting back to Rock On Rye following her retirement she was bred to Per Incanto(USA) and left a colt that was later destroyed after an accident with a fence. She was then bred to Westbury’s Stud’s son of High Chaparral(IRE) in Redwood(GB).
According to Rudkin the successful mating with Redwood(GB) is due to another of his owners Auckland NZTBA branch member Craig Dawson.
“One of my owners Craig Dawson is a shareholder in Redwood(GB) and he offered me the nomination which I accepted, and sent her there two years in a row” Rudkin recalled, “and to be fair all the credit for the mating should go to him.”
The first mating produced Youvebeenlitup who has won one race, and the second produced Rock On Wood. Both colts were sold at Karaka in the Festival Sale through Long Acre Stud’s draft, with the first one reaching $34,000, while Jill Ker paid $26,000 for Rock On Wood.
Back down to the South Island the mare slipped her Remind (USA) mating and then visited Zacinto (GB) where she produced another fine colt, which subsequently sold for $42,000 as a weanling at Karaka but also came to an untimely end in Australia.
Rock On Rye was sent north again to revisit Redwood(GB) and she produced a lovely colt which went through the Long Acres Book 2 draft at Karaka this year. He was sold for $65,000.
“We were hoping for a little bit more, as we knew Rock On Wood was smart and what high regard Leanne had for him,” said Rudkin, “but unfortunately he didn’t come up until the autumn.
“We were happy enough but we are excited about what he is doing as a racehorse and what the next one might sell for. He certainly looks like he’s going to be quite smart.”
After missing to Zacinto(GB) Rock On Rye returned to the North Island and Redwood(GB) again and she is safely in foal to that stallion. She is also now in residence at Craig Dawson’s farm at Matakana north of Auckland as Rudkin is also on the move.
“I am giving up my trainer’s licence, and moving north. I have trained for Terry Lines and over the past few months I have been doing a bit of work for his Vernon and Vazey Truck parts company, racing isn’t thriving here at the moment!
“I am originally from Cambridge and have been training in the South Island for the last 30 years or so it’s time to go back north, and now we will be based in Matamata”. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA