There are several big obstacles going against Rock Magic in Saturday’s Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) at Ascot.

No horse has won the race as a nine-year-old and no horse has won it on three occasions.

Seven horses have gone close by winning it twice, including Rock Magic, but no thoroughbred has completed an historic three victories.

The widest gate in barrier ten and the imposing return of Group 1 hero, Galaxy Star, will also present serious challenges to Rock Magic.

But the son of Redoute’s Choice is no stranger to defying the odds or displaying grit, determination and courage both on and off the race track.

That reputation was given another further boost at Northam two weeks ago when he made a spectacular return to racing after a year on the sidelines.

Despite travelling wide in running, the Chris Gangemi-trained Rock Magic smashed the track record in winning the Group 3 Northam Stakes (1100m).

It was a remarkable comeback from Rock Magic, who is lucky to be alive, let alone racing at the top level again after injuring his knee 12-months ago.

“Chris (Gangemi) rang me pretty much in tears, the whole farm was in tears and we thought he had fractured a knee,” stable manager Michael Gangemi said on Tabradio.

“We thought it was all over and not only that we would have to retire him, but we may lose him.

“It was a pretty emotional day for everyone and when we got the call to say it was not that (fractured knee), that’s when the road to recovery started.

“It was a long 12-months, but he is rightly named ‘Rocky’ because when he got off the canvas that day we thought we were going to lose him.

“To get him back at the track to win a Group 3 (Northam Stakes) like he did the other day, it was one of the most special moments in racing that I’ve ever had.”

Rock Magic goes into the the Roma Cup as the oldest horse and alongside Mr Motown the most experienced with 49 starts.

Despite his age and longevity, Gangemi says there are positive signs that Rock Magic could extend his racing career for little longer.

“He was at the track yesterday (Wednesday) and tried to savage me five times,” Gangemi said.

“When he stops trying to shove you out the way or lift you off the canvas you know something is wrong with him.

“He knows he’s good, thinks he is a rock star and walks around like it. He doesn’t care or think about anyone other than himself.

“The moment he loses that fire he will be going straight to a big paddock, but I can tell you he definitely hasn’t lost it.

“If anything he is getting more grumpier and angrier, that’s when we normally have a good bet, when we see how grumpy he is.”

Rock Magic, to be ridden by Jarrad Noske, holds second favouritism ($3) behind Galaxy Star ($2.65).

The classy Grant and Alana Williams trained mare resumes after a stellar Ascot carnival.

Galaxy Star did not finish out of the top three in five races, adding the Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) and Ted Van Heemst Stakes (2100m) to her Railway Stakes (1600m) success in November.

“She is a genuine freak,” Gangemi said.

“She is a genuine horse on the way up.

“But our bloke won’t mind a fight and we’ll have a red-hot crack.

“If he could get close to beating her we would be real, real proud.”

Julio Santarelli