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  • John Curtis


MONDAY: March 1, 2021: HIS name isn’t Rocky Balboa, but the equine “Rocky” also knocked out his rivals at Cowra today.

Just like the fictional boxing character in the popular Rocky film series, the lightly-raced four-year-old who races as Rockscape has overcome obstacles to make his mark on the racetrack.

A $31 chance, Rockscape (Rory Hutchings) landed a telling blow to take the Maiden Handicap (1200m) at only his third start.

In the process, he hoisted his Hawkesbury husband and wife training partnership Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard back into the winning list.

Jockey Rory Hutchings drove to Cowra for the one mount, and gave Rockscape a perfect ride before getting him home ahead of front-runner Ayva’s Revenge ($5) and Maggies Time ($8.50).

The seven-hour round trip also was indeed worthwhile for Team Attard, and Jason Attard before leaving Cowra related the story of how Rockscape came into their stable and was afforded the chance by his owners to be successful as a racehorse.

“The owners were given Rockscape as a foal at foot with his dam Lady Sara Mae (an unraced daughter of Snippetson, who has produced only the one foal)”, Attard explained.

“Rino Carusi and Tony Intonato called me and asked if I would train this horse.

“Some of the owners are related to the Carusi family which raced the triple Group 1 winner Le Romain with Kris Lees and wanted to race a horse themselves.

“When I went to see Rockscape, he was still a foal.

“We helped wean him and then broke him in, and have had to be very patient with him, as have the owners.

“Rockscape had a spur on one knee, and most owners would probably not have bothered continuing on.

“But not these guys. They were determined to give Rockscape every chance and wouldn’t give up. “Full credit for their perseverance, and it was fantastic to be able to win a race for them.”

Rockscape belatedly began his career as an early four-year-old on August 6 last year and finished 10th of 11 at Kembla Grange in a 1000m Maiden at $101.

“He was borderline shinsore so we stopped and gave him a break,” Attard said.

“Rockscape resumed at Bathurst on February 8 and his run wasn’t all that bad when he finished eighth (at $41).”

Stewards that day reported the Hawkesbury gelding overraced in the early stages and then was hampered at the 600m when another runner hung out.

“Rockscape’s work since Bathurst has been good, and this wasn’t a strong race today, so I felt he was capable of running well,” Attard said.

Attard was extremely praiseworthy of Rockscape’s jockey Hutchings, and not solely because he went to Cowra for only one mount.

“Rory has been a big help to us,” he said. “He rode work and also helped out at the farm for a month or so when he took a break from riding to try to keep his weight in check.

“He is a heavyweight rider, but very strong and talented.”

Echoing her husband’s comments, Lucy Keegan-Attard said Rockscape’s group of owners displayed patience beyond their experience.

“We just adore them,” she said. “One of the owners Wayne Greedy has been very unwell and we hope this win helps pick him up.”

. The Attards have set their sights on Saturday’s second Provincial Championships (1400m) heat at home, and are looking forward to starting Munich.

The gelding finished third in last year’s Hawkesbury heat, and his co-trainers are understandably keen to again qualify him for the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 10.

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