Progressive four-year-old Rock On Wood remains unbeaten in his current campaign after scoring his biggest career victory in Thursday’s Listed Manawatu ITM Anzac Mile (1600m) at Awapuni.
The Leanne Elliot-trained gelding made full use of a seven-kilogram advantage over proven Group One performer Shadows Cast to down the topweight with a barnstorming finish over the final 200m.
Patiently handled by Elliot’s son Ryan, who has been aboard the son of Redwood for all of his five career wins, including three on the trot in this preparation, Rock On Wood didn’t have all favours when forced to race wide in mid-field throughout.
Elliot didn’t panic as he set out after Shadows Cast who had driven to the front approaching the home corner and had established what looked like a winning break. Rock On Wood slowly wound through his gears and tackled Shadows Cast in the closing 100m before thrusting his head in front to grab the win, with Cutting Up Rough finishing off well for third.
Leanne Elliot, who part-owns Rock On Wood with her mother Jill, was struggling to keep her emotions in check when spoken to after the race.
“We were pretty nervous today and I didn’t know whether he had got there or not,” she said.
“That was amazing.
“Ryan knows him quite well, so I don’t really say too much.
“I didn’t want him back as far as last time and he had him a bit further forward, so it was just as well.
“He’s real special (Rock On Wood).”
A son of the High Chaparral sire Redwood, Rock On Wood has now won five of his nine career starts after being purchased for $26,000 from the Long Acres Stud draft at the 2016 Festival Yearling Sale at Karaka.
The victory completed a winning treble for Ryan Elliot on the day after earlier guiding the Team Rogerson-trained Pluton to victory in race 4 along with the Ralph Manning-trained Che Guevara in race 6.