Duke Of Rock will be the first of three Drakenstein Stud-bred siblings, all out of the Seventh Rock mare Rock On Baby, who will respectively be running in three successive SA meetings from Saturday through to Tuesday (Picture: JC Photos)
The much vaunted Mike and Adam Azzie-trained Drakenstein Stud homebred Amber Rock makes her reappearance in the first race at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday, one day before her older half-brother Duke Of Rock runs at the Vaal on Saturday and two days before her younger half-sister Ring A Ling runs at Turffontein Standside on Tuesday.
The trio are all offspring of the former Dennis Drier-trained Seventh Rock speedster Rock On Baby, whose three wins were all over 1000m.
Rock On Baby is a half-sister to two stakes-winning Drakenstein Stud homebred fillies, the Listed-winnning Sailing Ship (Duke Of Marmalade) and the Gr 3 and Listed-winning Santa Maria (Trippi).
The three-year-old Gimmethegreenlight filly Amber Rock had the dogs barking in no uncertain terms before her debut on March 25 this year and she was duly backed in to 17/10 favourite, despite the race being a Gr 3 event, the Protea Stakes over 1100m..
It would likely have been a major disappointment to those who knew her well that she was beaten that day.
However, in retrospect there is nothing disappointing about that run at all.
The horse who beat her by 0,40 lengths, albeit when giving her 5,5kg, was none other than Lucky Lad.
That Gimmethegreenlight colt went on to win the Gr2 WSB SA Nursery over 1160m by 2,75 lengths before winning the Gr 1 Gold Medallion over 1200m in ultra impressive style by 5,30 lengths.
Furthermore, beaten five lengths into third in the Protea Stakes was none other than Gimmeanotherchance, the Mike de Kock-trained stalwart who went on to win a Listed race before suffering a string of narrow feature race deafeats to the like of Sandringham Summit, Main Defender and Purple Pitcher.
The fourth-placed finished in the Protea Stakes, beaten 7,25 lengths, was the useeful The Africa House, who was recently fourth in vintage renewals of both the Gr 3 Betway Graham Beck Stakes and the Gr 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans.
The other two runners in the Protea Stakes, beaten 19 lengths and 36 lengths respectively in the soft going conditions that day, were Qhawi Lami and Ziyasha. Both of those horses have gone on to win three races to date and are merit rated 97 and 102 respectively.
To say Amber Rock’s Protea Stakes run was “useful form” would be the understatement of the century.
Her second run was genuinely disappointing.
She faced Lucky Lad again in the Gr 2 SA Nursery and started 28/10 second favourite, but took an awkward stride at the 200m mark and was eased out of the race by S’Manga Khumalo.
This was a bit like deja vu because the first of the siblings, a Philanthropist filly called Rock On Philly, had won on debut and second time out had finished tailed off despite starting second favourite at 5/2.
Amber Rock has not run again since the SA Nursery more than seven months ago.
Khumalo is aboard on Sunday in the 1000m event and Drakenstein will be hoping to see her recording her first victory.
They will also be hoping to see the Barend Botes and Yolandi Vosloo-trained Duke Of Rock winning over 1200m at the Vaal on Saturday under Muzi Yeni. This Duke Of Marmalade four-year-old gelding had two decent runs at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth before winning on debut on the Highveld. He then didn’t seem to stay 1600m and was dropped back to 1200m.
In his last start, his first since winning a maiden over 1200m and with Piere Strydom aboard, he showed good pace and at the 400m mark cruised into the lead still under the hands. However, he didn’t go through with it and finished a 4,20 length eighth.
However, there was probably a good reason. He was wearing first time blinkers and did race too strongly in the first half of the race.
The blinkers are now off and hopefully that will do the trick.
Then on Tuesdfay over 800m at Turffontein it is the turn of the Futura filly Ring A Ling, who is trained by Sean Tarry and who will be ridden by Richard Fourie.
Hopefully, by the time of that race, she will be out to become Rock On Baby’s fourth winner from four runners.
However, that will depend on Amber Rock winning on Sunday.