Rocker Band could contest NSW Oaks

J Scott Latest News


Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones is considering the $A200,000 New South Wales Oaks for exciting filly Rocker Band.

The NSW Oaks have $A20,000 heats scheduled at Menangle on February 21, with the final on March 1.

Rocker Band, scored easily second-up at Invercargill on January 15.

Rocker Band, shown in the hands of her trainer at the Rangiora workouts in early December. She scored easily second-up at Invercargill on January 15.

“Greg Brodie (Queensland owner) is keen on her to go for it,” said trainer Mark Jones.

“First, we have to see if we pay the late payment for the Nevele R Fillies Series. We’ll be guided by Ricky (May’s) thoughts but it looks like we’ll pay it,” he said.

Rocker Band, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner (1:55.1, 17 wins & $684,580), was surprisingly beaten into second first-up on a slushy track at Winton by Rakarolla in a 1:57.9 mile.

However, she was much too good in a C0 fillies and mares pace at Invercargill on Thursday, January 15,  starting a hot $1.40 favourite, despite a tricky inside back row draw.

Driver Ricky May eased her out from three back on the markers to stride clear at the 1600m and she was always in control from that point.

Rocker Band lifted her work rate from the home turn to dash away by 4 1/4 lengths from Leola’s Delight (three back) and Thinking Smart (trail) to win in 2:47.5 (2:02.6 mile rate for the mobile 2200m.

The winner quickened over her last 800m in 57.6s and her final 400m in 27.6s.

Rocker Band is a half-sister to Peruvian Banner (1:52.1, US), Stunin Banner (11 wins, 1:59.5) and Return to Sender (four wins, 1:57.4 rate, 2400m).

Her dam Mainland Banner, the only 4YO mare to have won the NZ Cup, was sold by Cullen Breeding in 2010 to Australian Glenferrie Farm owner Peter Chambers, for $135,000 at an Addington dispersal sale.

Also the 2005 NZ Oaks winner and runnerup in an Auckland Cup, Mainland Banner can only leave foals by embryo transfer.

Mr Chambers, who bred Rocker Band and her half-sister Glenferrie Classic (by Bettor’s Delight), before taking her to Australia two years ago, subsequently sold Rocker Band to Mark Jones.

Glenferrie Classic also changed hands, being purchased by a group of NZ owners last year, including Gavin Saunders, who raced the ill-fated 1989 New Zealand Cup winner, Inky Lord.

Mark Jones then passed Rocker Band on to fellow major Australian stable client, Greg Brodie, as a replacement for Ultimate CC, after the latter failed to fulfill her initial promise even though Ultimate CC did win a Nevele R Fillies Consolation.

Mark qualified Rocker Band at Rangiora on April 7, winning in a smart 2:31.7 (mobile 2000m), from other smart fillies and subsequent 3YO filly winners in Storm Maguire, Whitershadeofpale (now unbeaten in four NSW starts and a 1:53.9 Menangle miler) and Maritime Arden.

He then gave her time out with the prospect of developing into a classic 3YO.

Meanwhile, last season’s Trotter of the Year Master Lavros will now miss the Glenferrie Challenge (also to be run on March 1) and be set for another Rowe Cup on April 24 after returning to work on Monday.

By Jeff Scott