THE small, yet brave, Balnarring-trained racehorse Rox The Castle has once again defeated a runner that many pegged as a “horse that couldn’t be beaten” at Sandown on Wednesday 4 September.
The Kerry Edwards-trained galloper jumped as the second favourite behind the promising Phillip Stokes-trained Jumbo Ozaki who many expected to come out on top before heading towards bigger targets in the Spring.
But, the little pocket rocket, Rox The Castle, didn’t lay down without a challenge and led from start to finish with the top weight of 59.5kg to score his first win for the preparation. Third-up and nearing peak fitness, the five-year-old son of Castledale held a comfortable three-quarters of a length margin over the hyped horse, Jumbo Ozaki, who had every possible chance to run him down.
The five-year-old son of Castledale was given a calm ride by Mornington-based jockey Jack Martin and notched up his sixth victory in Australia since moving from New Zealand.
The victory added to Martin’s already successful run aboard Castledale progeny having claimed the Group Three Craven Plate at Randwick last year aboard the Peter Gelagotis-trained Moss ‘N’ Dale.
Despite being impatient in the mounting yard pre-race, trainer Kerry Edwards said her stable star should never be underestimated.
“Today was the worst he’s ever been at the races as far as his patience goes, so to see him go out and do that and carry that weight against the horse that everyone said ‘couldn’t be beaten’ was incredible,” Edwards said.
“He’s done it before [by defeating the heavily-supported] Greyworm previously so he just defies logic sometimes. He’s a competitor, he’s just got that will to win.”
While Rox The Castle doesn’t look all to different this preparation compared to his last preparation, Edwards said he’s really put on a bit of muscle where he has needed to.
“He’s got strength about him this time in work,” she said. “Physically he just doesn’t look much different but he’s carrying about 10 kgs more.”
Since his run on Wednesday, Rox The Castle has had a quiet time of recovering with the run taking “a bit out of him” but Edwards said she couldn’t have been any happier with the way he felt at Balnarring beach on Monday morning.
“This morning down at the beach, he just felt enormous,” she said. “After the race last week he had Thursday off and then Friday and Saturday he was very quiet but he’s back to where he needs to be now.
“I reckon his last run will have him cherry ripe for his next assignment that we go to.”
As long as he gains a start in the race, that next assignment will be the $140,000 Listed ‘The Sofitel’ handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday 14 September.