Rock Magic Looks to End Bad Winterbottom Stakes Fortune

One of the most fascinating aspects of weight-for-age thoroughbred racing and handicaps is the chance to see champions return to try to defend a win, or even to increase their haul to three.

If Racing Victoria officials are successful in attracting Winx for one more try at the Cox Plate in 2018, she has the chance to claim four, something that is practically unheard of.

On the other side of the coin, you have Rock Magic. He has been aimed by trainer Chris Gangemi at the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200 m) at Ascot for the past two years, only to see his hopes go up in smoke.

In 2015, a hoof issue caused Rock Magic to be scratched the day before the race. Another heel issue hampered him last year, but he still jumped and managed to finish third.

This year, Gangemi seems to feel that Rock Magic is in prime form and it would have to be assumed that it is now or never for the eight-year-old son of Redoubt’s Choice.

Gangemi told Sky Racing, “Rock Magic has been the best sprinter here for the last couple of years – he’s won seven stakes races and it would be lovely to top off his career with a Group I.

He added, somewhat fatalistically, “We haven’t had any problems yet, but we are waiting for something to go wrong because the last few years we’ve had Rock Magic ready for the race and something has gone wrong the last few days. At the moment, he had his final gallop yesterday and he’s in great order at the moment – We’re just praying nothing goes wrong in the next few days.”

Rock Magic will break from the sixth barrier. At this time, he is quoted at $6.50 by Ladbrokes, behind the clear favourite, State Solicitor, well drawn in the fourth barrier at $2.90 and Viddora ($4.20) out of seven.

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