Gangemi Continues Tradition With Emotional Roma Cup Victory


Rock Magic consolidated his reputation as Western Australia’s best sprinter and gave trainer Chris Gangemi an emotional victory when he easily won the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

After settling in fourth position for jockey, William Pike, Rock Magic, who started favourite, launched a powerful sprint in the straight to defeat Battle Hero by 3 ¼ lengths with Durendal third, giving Gangemi a training trifecta.

Racing first-up since a Melbourne autumn campaign, Rock Magic, a rising nine-year-old, entered the record books as the seventh horse to win the Roma Cup twice and the fifth in successive years.

Rock Magic’s victory, his 15th from 48 starts, continued a family tradition for Gangemi after his 94-year-old grandfather, Michele, helped to introduce the race when it was first staged in 1966.

“To get the whole job done I’m sure dad, nonno and the whole family would be very proud,” Gangemi said.

“It’s hard to win any race let alone a big one so a trifecta is a terrific result.

“He (Rock Magic) looks like he is getting better with age and has been the best sprinter in Perth for the past few years.

“He’s had no luck over east, but the way he won that he might have to go back and have another crack.”

Rock Magic campaigned in Melbourne during the autumn and ran fifth to Hellbent at his previous start in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

Gangemi said Rock Magic and Battle Hero were almost certain starters in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) at Belmont in a fortnight.

Durendal will target the Listed Beaufine Stakes over 1000m on June 9.

Rock Magic advanced his stake earnings to $1,284,315 and gave Pike the key leg of a winning quartet after wins on Masquerade, Galaxy Star and Forceful.

Meanwhile Missile Launch continued his winning ways with a stout performance in the Cavalier Handicap (1800m), outpointing Elegant Blast by a long-neck.

The promising four-year-old covered extra ground when trapped with cover, but underlined his toughness when he booted clear and held out a strong challenge from the runner up.

Trained by Vaughn Sigley, Missile Launch enhanced his tag as a budding star and is being earmarked for a Group 1 double in the Railway Stakes (1600m) and Kingston Town Classic (1800m) later in November.

“You always dream for those type of races,” Sigley said.

“You have to have a good runner to get into the race let alone win it.

“It’s a dream of ours and the horse is doing everything right at the moment.”

Julio Santarelli