Mick Stanley buoyed by NZ Cup trial

By Adam Hamilton

Aussie raider Rock N Roll Doo’s New Zealand Cup tilt is right back on track after a sparkling trial win.

The Victoria Cup winner set tongues wagging when he smashed the clock in a smaller-than-usual traditional Cup “Trial” at Addington yesterday. (Wednesday).

Just as importantly, the Mick Stanley-trained star stepped away safely from the standing start, something he made a mess of at his NZ debut in the Ashburton Flying Stakes nine days earlier.

“It was everything we hoped for, the start and how good he felt,” Stanley said.

“To be honest, it’s what I expected, too. I knew he was underdone, and deliberately so, at Ashburton, and I blame myself as much as anything for him messing up the start there.”

Rock N Roll Doo stepped well and led the three-horse Cup Trial from emerging Kiwi star Old Town Road, while Krug galloped away.

Stanley was keen for a solid hitout and let Rock N Roll Doo run along with a scorching 1min53.8sec last mile and 54sec flat closing 800m.

Rock N Roll Doo held-off Old Town Road to win by a half-head.

Stanley warned the hitout would only bring the four-year-old on even more for next Tuesday’s $NZ600,000 Group 1 feature.

“He basically did no work for a week after the Victoria Cup (October 8) so I knew he was well underdone for Ashburton, but he still did enough there to say he’s as good as any of the locals and that was really encouraging,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of work into him over the past week and seen the improvement in him so the strong trial didn’t surprise me.

“He felt great, but there’s more to come. He’ll be right where I want him come race time.

“As far as the start goes, I think I had him too relaxed at Ashburton. I had him moving more this time and I’ve got my head around it all now for the big one.”

Rock N Roll Doo will start from the back line (barrier 13) in the Cup.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s more about getting away safely because it’s a marathon (3200m) not a sprint,” Stanley said.

Rock N Roll Doo is one of two Aussies trying to become just the second Aussie-trained pacer since My Lightning Blue way back in 1987 to win the NZ Cup. The other was Arden Rooney in 2015.

Australia’s other runner, Majestic Cruiser, will start from barrier two.

The Jason Grimson-trained star was flown from Sydney to Auckland on Sunday then had another flight from Auckland to Christchurch today (Wednesday).

Grimson remains confident despite Majestic Cruiser’s two runs from a spell being only fair by his standards and the fact he’s never raced from a standing start.

“Don’t worry, he’ll be ready come raceday. I’ll have him right,” he said.

“He’s a sensible, seasoned old horse. He stepped well in a (standing start) trial a couple of weeks back.”

NZ’s two best pacers Self Assured (barrier one) and Copy That (eight) - winners of the past two NZ Cups - look the hardest for the Aussies to beat.


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