Five reasons why Rock N Roll Doo can win the IRT New Zealand Cup

By Michael Guerin

Aussies coming to Addington to winning our greatest race, the IRT New Zealand Cup, need to be something special. After all, they have no advantages and have to wrest the IRT Cup away from the grasp of some incredibly talented local horsepeople and their wonderful horses who are so much more used to the rigours of standing start distance racing than the visitors can possibly be. That is why only one Australian-trained pacer has won the Cup this century.

But Rock N Roll Doo is the second favourite for the IRT-sponsored iconic race at Addington in four weeks and could even be favourite by the big day.
Here are five reasons why he can defy history and win the Cup:

1: He is good, maybe great : One Victoria Cup doesn’t a champion make but not many of them are won the way Rock N Roll Doo won his Victoria Cup on Saturday night. Rather than being a speedy, passing lane win it was a crushing Victoria Cup dominance of raw stamina and in his Kilmore Cup win the start before over distance he was going away at the line.Ability and stamina won’t be a problem.

2: He is very relaxed : Rock N Roll Doo was almost asleep in the stables and parade ring at Melton on Saturday night, head down and conserving his energy for when it was needed.That is going to be a huge help in front of 20,000 fans at Addington on Cup Day because if the four-year-old was nervy and all that adrenalin started pumping through his veins pre-race it wouldn’t help with what will be only his second career standing start. Nervy he ain’t.

3: They are doing it right : Trainer Mick Stanley is dedicating himself to this NZ Cup campaign, flying Rock N Roll Doo to New Zealand on Thursday and travelling himself on Friday. That means Stanley could spend much of the next month with the horse so he can get his prep and then Cup week right. “I have a great team at home so I am not concerned at all about the stable ticking over while I am away but it will be hard being away from my family for so long,” says Stanley. “But I am tremendously excited about the whole experience.”One of the reasons for the early arrival is so, all going well, Rock N Roll Doo can go to the Ashburton Flying Stakes to get his eye in and iron out any pre-Cup bugs.That is a masterstroke and will let Stanley, and all of us, know where he stands.

4: The locals :  No disrespect to our wonderful elite pacers but the crop is going through a transition. As the Methven Cup and other lead-up races have shown the once “big three” of Self Assured, Spankem and South Coast Arden are beatable and defending NZ Cup champ Copy That has been unplaced in three of four starts in Victoria this campaign. There is no shortage of talent like B D Joe coming through and Self Assured will be the horse to beat at Addington but it is not like Rock N Roll Doo is coming here to take on Lazarus.

5: His lead up races : One of the issues for Australian pacers coming to the New Zealand Cup in the past has been lead-up racing, with few lung-searing distance contests to get them ready for the oxygen debt that awaits at Addington. But you could make the case, a lack of standing starts aside, Rock N Roll Doo has been racing in harder and even arguably stronger races this spring than the New Zealand horses and right now would be as fit if not fitter than our best horses. Add Ashburton to that mix and he should be every bit as fit as the Kiwis come November 8. So he is at least coming for a fair fight.

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