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First RockEl Roca Off and Away

While it is early days the early signs could not be more positive surrounding the progeny of El Roca, and it was great to see his first runner – the aptly named First Rock – step out over 800m at Wanganui on Saturday and run so well.

The Debbie Sweeney-trained First Rock began well but had no luck after that, being squeezed out at the start, going back to a clear last after 100m. The filly showed excellent acceleration to race up behind the leaders coming to the turn before encountering further traffic problems. Hot favourite Sai Fah took the lead turning in, only to have First Rock sprint up to take the lead at the 250m mark. With the experience of two trials the Stephen Marsh trained Sai Fah responded to a strong ride from Danielle Johnson to fight back short of the line and deny First Rock an auspicious debut victory.

First Rock went to Wanganui without the benefit of a trial and she went close to carrying on a family tradition for the Sanders family who have used the Wanganui race as a forerunner to taking their better two-year-olds to greater heights.

A son of Fastnet Rock, El Roca did not race at two but did win a trial easily at Te Teko in August of his juvenile year, so it is no surprise to see him with some early runners.

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