Wagga trainer Wayne Carroll hopes Rock ‘N’ Roller can work his way into Country Championships calculations with a big performance on his home track on Tuesday.
Next month’s $150,000 Southern District heat of the Country Championships will take further shape as a number of hopefuls step out for lead up runs at Wagga.
Rock ‘N’ Roller is one of those hopefuls and he will step out for the first time in a month when he contests the Southwest Catering Care C,G&E Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m).
With only a handful of starts to his name, Rock ‘N’ Roller highlighted his potential with a strong last-start victory at Wagga over 1200m on December 24.
Mathew Cahill stays aboard and Carroll hopes Rock ‘N’ Roller can put himself into Country Championships calculations with a strong performance.
“That would be a plan, there’s no qualms about that,” Carroll said.
“Going forward, is it a season too early for him? Time will only tell.
“I can’t ask for anymore than how he’s going at the moment. He goes up in weight but that’s what you’ve got to do when you win races. He’s not a big horse but is strongly enough built.
“The seven alley is a touch sticky but it will allow Mat Cahill to dictate where he wants to be in the race, he gets back anyway. He is really looking for the 1400 metres now and I think going forward, 1400 will suit.”
Carroll also expects Fashion Tip to feature prominently in the Diageo Australia F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m).
Fashion Tip, a winner of two races from 14 starts, made a strong return from a spell with a second placing behind Moving On Up at Wagga on January 11.
Carroll said the mare has returned much stronger this preparation.
“It was a fantastic run. She jumped out in a class three, she’s only a class two mare, and it was a quality race too for around here. It was a really nice run,” he said.
“She had a good break. We let her go and develop, she's a four-year-old mare now and we think going forward she’ll be a really nice horse.
“She’s got stronger, her will has always been there, and I think she is a major player in a race with four chances, I believe. The four all go pretty good.”
Carroll’s apprentice, Belinda Wright’s three kilogram claim will help reduce Fashion Tip’s weight to 57kg. She is riding well, too, with five winners from 21 rides since Christmas.
Carroll’s third runner at Wagga is Stazzana in the XXXX Gold Maiden Handicap (1000m).
The Star Witness filly will make her debut after being scratched at Wagga on Christmas Eve after pulling a tooth out at the tie up stalls.
Carroll had hoped to start her sooner but a lack of suitable 1000m maidens made that task more difficult.
“With the programming we’ve had to wait a month but she’ll be competitive,” he said.
“She’s a nice filly and she will take a lot out of the run on (Tuesday).”
Cahill will also take the ride on Stazzana.