Lisa Latta-trained Rock Island Line had an audience with the Pope when he rocked home to win at New Plymouth last Saturday in the rating 72 1400 metres.
True to family tradition, the 4YO gelding reveled in the bottomless track conditions assisted by jockey Robbie “The Pope” Hannam picking a genius line coming from last along the fence to victory.
Say Racing Manager Albert Bosma, “There was no traffic on the rail which was a surprise as that was the place to be on Saturday on the heavy 11 track.” However Rock Island Line’s suitability to the conditions came as no shock. “ He is a half-brother to the stakes-winner of ten races, North And South, who loved it wet and loose, so we were confident he’d appreciate the track on Saturday.”
“Initially we had planned on racing him over 1400 metres at Oamaru on the 21st of July but we had to have a rethink. There just hasn’t been a lot of rain in the mainland for some time and that meeting was subsequently transferred to Tuesday, so it turned out to be the right choice.”
The win bodes well for both horse and trainer with the victory bringing up Lisa Latta’s 950th win and career prize-money of over $20 million.
Says Albert, “It’s an exceptional milestone. We are so proud of Lisa.”
With this win under his belt, Rock Island Line’s next start is planned to be in the $100,000 Group 3 Winter Cup over 1600 metres at Riccarton on the 3rd of August, where he will get in with just 53 kilos. “It is touch and go whether he will make the field, but we will head south and there are some good supporting races for him if he doesn’t make the big dance on the 3rd.”
“Robbie believes Rock Island Line is just reaching peak winter fitness now as he carried a lot of condition at the start of this campaign. He’ll have no problems stepping up to 1600 metres so we should be in for good winter and early spring racing to continue.”