Maiden Win For Two Strong Hearts


Photo by generous permission of Hollands Photographics

Today was one of the highlights of the WA racing season, with the 107th running of the Group II Go For 2&5 Karrakatta Plate. This $500,000 Group II race, over 1200 metres, for 2 year olds, is generally acknowledged to be one of the hardest races of all to win.

The stable’s representative Gold Rocks had won the first two 2 year old races of the year, but on her return after a spell the pundits chose to ignore her early successes and she was unfancied for the big race.

As soon as the barriers opened, the pace was on, as two of the fancied runners Kid Choisir and For Your Eyes Only battled for the lead, with Wolfe Dreams and Gold Rocks in close attendance. Jockey Pat Carbery sat patiently on the filly until well into the home straight before asking her to go and win her race. Gold Rocks responded in scintillating fashion, sprinting past the fading leaders to win by a clear length from the favourite Wolfe Dreams. A measure of her supremacy was that Carbery was able to stand up in the irons in the last 20 metres and salute the crowd – for which he was duly fined, but probably feels it was money well spent!

It was an emotional return to scales for the filly and her owner/breeders Geoff and Heather Nicholls, as this was the culmination of 10 years, and three generations, of breeding. Gold Rocks is from their good home-bred mare Alozie, whose offspring are all winners. Geoff was fulsome in his thanks and praise to Peter and the stable team for the tremendous training feat of getting the filly right on the day. He also mentioned Gray and Jan Williamson of Mungrup Stud, whose stallion Oratorio sired Gold Rocks. They had always told Geoff that the little pocket rocket was going to be a star, even when she was only a weanling.

Peter and the whole stable team were thrilled to win this flagship race, and although Peter has had Group I success, he may well regard the Karrakatta win as a greater training achievement, because everyone in racing knows that getting a 2 year old, particularly a filly, ready for one specific day is an extremely difficult task. The pundits had said before the race that this was one of the strongest Karrakatta fields in 20 years, but Gold Rocks proved that, despite the old saying, a good filly can beat a good colt!

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