Joe rock solid in Oaks heat

By Jonny Turner

Had she not shifted camps, Joe’s Rock would have been part of a Canterbury whitewash at Ascot Park yesterday.

The Brett Gray trained filly impressed when running to smart win over the quality line up that contested a heat of the Southland Oaks.

Joe’s Rock couldn’t have done much more than her two wins and a second placing in three starts since her purchase out of David Moore’s Canterbury stable by Southland owners Robert and Sharyn Symon.

And according to her new trainer, there is even more to come.

“She is really getting better and better, I have been really happy with her,” Gray said.

“She runs around a little bit, she is not the finished product.”

“I think when she gets a wee bit stronger she will be better.”

“But we are trying not to do too much with her this year.”

Joe’s Rock held up Southland’s end while Canterbury trained pacers took the remaining two features on the Ascot Park card.

Life’s A Beach showed her class when sticking her neck out to win yesterday’s Southern Belle Speed Series heat.

Trained by a former Southlander in Tony Barron, the four-year-old worked early on a track record-breaking speed before fighting off the challenge of runner-up Might Be Me in the straight.

Life’s A Beach’s winning time of 2.00.9 for the 1700m event set a new all-comers track record, bettering the previous mark of 2.01.4 jointly held by Raksdeal and Better Go Fernco.

Yesterday’s feature trot also headed to Canterbury when the Matt Purvis trained My Moment’s Now made light work of a usually tough 25m handicap over 2200m.

The half-sister to star trotter Oscar Bonavena went through 2021 winless during a frustrating run for her owners, Purvis’ father John and Gavin Moffat.

But with three wins already this year, 2022 is looking much brighter for the five-year-old.

“She was one of those ones when her confidence was down she was looking for any excuse, which was doing my head in,” Purvis said.

“But we have changed the way she has been driven which has been a big help.”

“Today was a bit different because of the class of field.”

“But we have been driving her with a sit and she has started to enjoy her racing again, rather than looping the field and being left wanting at the top of the straight.”

“The whole family has got speed, but the whole family is a bit hot, too.”

“It has taken her a long time to learn to settle in a race.”

Brother and sister have been able to see a little bit of each other recently.

That’s due to Oscar Bonavena’s move to Woodend Beach, under the care of Regan Todd, where Purvis also trains.

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