Rock N Roll Doo looking increasingly unlikely for $1m Race by Grins

By Adam Hamilton

Owner Brendan James is almost resigned to the fact an untimely and lingering hoof abscess will force Rock N Roll Doo out of the $NZ1m Race By Grins at Cambridge next Friday.

The former Victoria Cup and Len Smith Mile winner was scratched from a key lead-up race, the Group 2 Waikato Flying Mile, at Cambridge last night.

“I can’t see how he’s going to be right in a week,” James said. “I know we’ve still got a bit of time on our side and things can improve quickly when an abscess bursts, but it’s a question of how much work he’s already missed and will miss as he prepares for one of the hardest races he’ll have raced in.”

“We were so thrilled when he got a slot to give him another chance at the Race By Grins (after he had a slot but the trip was aborted last year). We deliberately sent him over early and enlisted Cran Dalgety as caretaker trainer.

“The first report back from Cran was glowing after he worked him with one of his nice horses, Republican Party, but soon after the hoof flared up.

“The thing with an abscess is that it’s all a matter of time. You can try and draw them out, but it can be days or even weeks before they burst and then it’s like you’ve got a new horse.

“Cran’s been waiting and hoping each day for it to burst, but it hasn’t yet and we’re running out of time.

"I've spoken to the slot owners (Barrett Homes) to update them and prepare them for what might happen."

If Rock N Roll Doo is scratched, the first emergency and horse Barrett Homes would switch to is Kango.

James admits he is already looking ahead to a string of other feature races in NZ, including the $NZ110,000 Group 1 Taylor Mile at Auckland’s Alexandra Park on April 26 and the $NZ110,000 Group 1 Messenger at the same track a week later.

“Then there’s the Roy Purdon (May 17) and the Auckland Cup (May 24),” James said. “There’s four other nice races over there for him and time to get him ready for them.

“Sure, it’s disappointing if he misses the Grins and I’m awfully sorry for Cran (Dalgety), but that’s horses for you.

“It’s especially been the case with ‘Hendo’ (Rock N Roll Doo’s stable name). He’s given us some great highs, but some frustrating lows, too.

“But this is only minor and it’s more of a timing thing. I’m just thrilled Cran was so excited about how well the horse seemed before the abscess.”

If Rock N Roll Doo is scratched, it will leave Australia with just two runners – Better Eclipse and Speak The Truth – in the Race By Grins.

But, on the same night, four of the eight runners in the inaugural $NZ600,000 TAB Trot are Australian-trained. They are: Just Believe, Callmethebreeze, Queen Elida and Arcee Phoenix.

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