Rokanori claimed his biggest victory on Saturday and trainer Grant Williams is confident the unbeaten colt can continue to improve as he progresses to next month’s WA Derby (2400).
Coming off a Belmont Park maiden and an Ascot midweek race, Rokanori faced a stiffer test in the J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m), but passed it with flying colours.
Extending his winning sequence to three, Rockanori, in a change of tactics, proved he was just as adept when ridden patiently from the back of the field.
With in-form jockey Pat Carbery on top, Rokanori unleashed a strong finishing burst to defeat raging favourite Trix Of The Trade by a short neck.
Williams said he can’t fault Rokanori’s introduction to racing.
“He’s only early in his career and has a lot of growing to do, so we have to take every run as it comes,” Williams said on Tabradio.
“Everything you put in front of he does, so as long as he keeps doing that it always gives you confidence going forward.
“He’s come through really good since that run on Saturday, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“It’s his first preparation which actually is a really good effort for a horse to try and reach a grand final in his first preparation.
“At this stage he’s handling it very well.”
Rokanori’s brilliant win on the weekend got a swift response from Tabtouch ahead of the WA Derby.
The son of Awesome Rock has tightened to $4.40 and sits behind Alaskan God ($4) and Trix Of The Trade (4.20).
Alaskan God was promoted to top billing after giving another powerful display to win a 1800m handicap on Sunday.
The Playing God gelding, a winner in three of four starts, capped a terrific weekend for the Dan Morton stable following the win of Kissonallforcheeks 24 hours earlier in Melbourne.
”Dan’s horse looked very impressive on Sunday and looks the testing material,” Williams said.
“I’m not sure of the quality of that race, but you can only win the race as you see it and it won very well.
“And if Mr Webster (Colin) thinks Trix Of The Trade can get the trip he is definitely going to be the one to beat.”
Williams is also upbeat about his chances in the WA Oaks after Mrs America overcame a difficult trip to run third in the Natasha Stakes (2200m).
He says a gear change will prove crucial.
“I thought Saturday’s run was really encouraging, taking into consideration her manners which were horrible” Williams said.
“I’ll probably put a Norton bit on her for the Oaks.
“There has to be a lot of upside out of the run if she can handle the Norton bit.
“If we can get her to relax a little bit she would have to be right in it.”
Natasha Stakes winner Constant Dreaming is favourite ($3) for the Oaks.
Fine Romance is next at $3.40 and Mrs America is $6.