The Michael Moroney-trained Kiwi expat Roch ‘N’ Horse franked the New Zealand sprint form with a massive upset at 100/1 in the Group 1 $1.5 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Super Saturday at Flemington.

Roch 'N' Horse | Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos | Horseracing.com.au

Kiwi mare Roch ‘N’ Horse left the punters stunned winning the 2022 Newmarket Handicap at 100/1. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

A quality five-year-old daughter of Per Incanto, Roch ‘N’ Horse was unwanted in the Newmarket Handicap markets despite her devastatingly close second last time out across the Tasman.

She was narrowly denied a Group 1 win in the Telegraph Stakes over the six furlongs in mid-January, but atoned down under when dominant at triple-figures in the time-honoured sprint classic at headquarters.

“Great,” Moroney said to Racing.com post-win.

“She’s settled in well, trialled really well and had been pretty luckless not to win a Group 1 before now I reckon.”

Things panned out perfectly for jockey Patrick Moloney who got a lovely trail into the race on the far side, the Newmarket field having split in two soon after the jump.

The inside pack was led around by Finance Tycoon and it was there that Moloney positioned himself awaiting a run.

All the best backed sprinters in the race meanwhile went to the outside including Chris Waller’s last start Black Caviar Lightning winner, Home Affairs.

Nothing from the near side featured in the finish however with all three horses in the Newmarket Handicap trifecta coming from an inside run.

At the clocktower, Rock ‘N’ Horse ($101) began to move up and hit the front, flying home the closing stages to defeat the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained proven straight tracker The Astrologist ($61) by a quarter-length.

In third was Chris Waller’s 2020 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner September Run ($26), 10th in the race last year as the beaten $2.80 favourite, looking back to her better form.

The Telegraph form from New Zealand was further franked with the Ken & Bev Kelso-trained winning mare Levante finishing just two lengths back fourth to complete the Newmarket Handicap first four.

“I thought the New Zealand sprinters were up to it,” Moroney said.

“I was pretty sure from what I’d seen there that they were.

“We were always going to get to Australia (with her), it was just a matter of which carnival.”

Moloney could barely contain his elation and emotion after breaking through for his first Group 1 success and likely to cop a fine for celebrating before the post.

“It’s massive. It’s just more for my family, they all put a lot of effort in behind me,” he said.

“This one’s just as much for dad as it is for me. My biggest supporter and my biggest critic but he’s my best mate.

“The horse today, she was in the zone man. She waltzed of the yard and had a strut to her. She cruised down to the barriers quite as a lamb…she was so clam and conserved all her energy.

“Things couldn’t have worked out better.

“We got a beautiful cart into it…I peeled out at the right time and she just went bang for me, it’s unbelievable.

“It had to be for Mike. We were unlucky not to win one here on Tivaci (2017) a while ago.”

“For the best part of two years I was his main rider…he’s rewarded me today.

“Roch ‘N’ Horse won the Newmarket mate and that’s all I care about!”

As for the beaten favourites, Home Affairs weakened to finish ninth in a run that jockey James McDonald described as brave, while the John O’Shea-trained Lost And Running just couldn’t keep up in the wrong part of the track finishing over seven lengths back 14th.


About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.