Rock Magic rocketed into Group One Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) calculations after defying the sceptics with an upset win in the Prince Of Wales (1000m) Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Rock Magic snuck under the attention of punters, starting at $9.90, with the weight of public money behind Vega Magic, the Lope De Vega gelding holding high expectations at his first run back this campaign.
But despite a modest Ascot record and getting trapped wide after jumping from the second widest gate in the field of 11, Rock Magic launched a powerful run from seventh position for jockey, Jarrad Noske.
The Redoute’s Choice seven-year-old, trained at Ascot by Chris Gangemi, utilised his sharp turn of foot to score by ¾ of a length from frontrunner, Smoko, with Battle Hero running close behind in third place.
Vega Magic finished ninth in a blanket finish, 2 ¼ lengths from Rock Magic, but the favourite enjoyed no luck in running after getting held up from barrier two.
Rock Magic has been Gangemi’s stable flag bearer since crossing from Sydney two years ago, yesterday’s victory his fifth black-type success after earlier wins in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m), Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m), Listed Beaufine Stakes (1000m) and the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m) at his previous start in July.
Gangemi said Rock Magic had proved the doubters wrong and was heading into next month’s Winterbottom Stakes in career-best condition.
“This horse has been very, very good to us and he is probably going the best ever,” Gangemi said.
“I was quietly confident even if no one really gave us a hope.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but he has now won five stakes races and he battles to get a mention when everyone talks about the good horses.
“I think he is actually the highest rated sprinter in Perth so you would think he would get more recognition, but we are happy to go under the radar.
“It’s the best we have ever had him and hopefully he pulls up good and stays that way because anything can go wrong.
“We had to scratch him out of last year’s Winterbottom Stakes with a foot abscess, so I would like him to get there in good order and see what he can do.”