Rothfire was exceptional, Ole Kirk and North Pacific will be better over further, and Farnan simply went out too fast early.
As a contest, the Group 2 $200,000 Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday was compelling to watch but it wasn’t Rothfire’s brilliant win that was the talking point.
Instead it was $2.40 favourite Farnan’s blinding early sectionals which resulted in the Golden Slipper winner leading by as much as five lengths mid-race before he got very leg weary in the straight and finished fifth.
Racing NSW stewards grilled Farnan’s jockey Hugh Bowman at length after the race.
Queenslander!! Rothfire gets the win in the Run To The Rose! pic.twitter.com/HLJ80842D2
Bowman said he “wasn’t tied down” to specific instructions to lead at all costs on Farnan.
“I had the choice to go forward of Rothfire, I wasn’t even clear of Peltzer which indicated to me that the pace at this stage isn’t frantic,’’ Bowman told stewards.
“At this point here I was not even a length clear of Kerrin (McEvoy on Peltzer) and Jim Byrne is not intent on leading, so I made the choice of leading. Once I committed to go, then you look at Jim Byrne and you can see he wanted to come back.’’
Bowman said once he committed to go forward and lead on Farnan “you don’t switch it on and switch it off.’’
Rothfire left a star-studded field in his wake in the Run To The Rose. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I made the choice to go, I was going with my horse, I wasn’t driving him,’’ Bowman said.
“Unfortunately my horse being first-up he reacted and just took off, basically.
“He is a leader but I didn’t go out there with a plan to be any more aggressive than usual.
“It was instinctive. Once I made that decision the horse took charge of me and took off.’’
Stewards questioned Bowman if he tried to restrain Farnan once he crossed Rothfire and found the rail.
Farnan was found to have broken 11s in successive 200m splits mid-race and Bowman agreed the Golden Slipper winner was not going to be able to maintain that speed to the finish.
“I think it shows I’m restraining him once I got him into that rhythm,’’ Bowman said. “It’s not trackwork. I have got to work with him. I didn’t want to go that quick, obviously.’’
While all this was happening, Rothfire sat off Farnan’s frenetic tempo before sprinting clear and stopping the clock at 1m 8.52s, breaking Menari’s race record by 0.07s.
Rothfire ($5) raced clear to score a commanding win by 1½ lengths. The Team Hawkes-trained pair of Ole Kirk ($31) and North Pacific ($4) closed fast to finish in the minor placings with a length separating the stablemates.
Trainer Rob Heathcote was at Doomben and told colleague Ben Dorries that Rothfire had proven his worth against the best three-year-olds in training.
“Gai, you may have the best three-year-old colt but I’ve got a better gelding,” Heathcote declared. “We are not a pretender in The Everest now are we?”
Rothfire’s jockey Jim Byrne admitted he wanted to try and lead on the gun Queenslander but Bowman on Farnan had other ideas.
“I thought if I could set up a decent tempo that Hughie (Farnan) may back off but that wasn’t the case. They were pretty determined to want to lead,’’ Byrne said.
“But we’d been doing a lot of work with Rothfire, working him in behind runners, he was doing that as a two-year-old but he was just better than them.
“Rothfire has to continually take steps forward and they are raising the bar with him every time but he is the right horse for it.
Watched Rothfire’ awesome win with Rob Heathcote – here are the scenes 👌 pic.twitter.com/hKvsvhvcqN
“His demeanour, you only have to watch how he walks around, he has never been here before but he takes it all in his stride.”
Heathcote has left Rothfire in Sydney with travelling foreperson Mel Sharpe, an expert horsewoman who used to look after the trainer’s outstanding sprinter, Buffering.
“I did cry a little in Dubai, yes, because you are on the international stage,’’ Sharpe said wiping away tears after the race.
“This little horse keeps defying all the odds, taking the next step, going through it all, this is the beginning and there is just so much more to come.
“He is an absolute gem to be honest. He is a real dude. I think the horse has a lot more improvement as we missed that trial and he had an exhibition gallop so it’s onwards and upwards for this lad.”
Heathcote will run Rothfire next in the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 26 before the $15 million The TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 17.
Michael Hawkes, co-trainer of Ole Kirk and North Pacific, said both colts will be better suited at 1400m in the Golden Rose.
Jim Byrne was full of praise for Rothfire after his dominant win. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Originally published asBowman feels the burn as Rothfire sizzles
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