Mark Minervini's smart galloper Addiction To Rock successfully stepped up to open grade at his first attempt in winning the $20,000 Dublin Hotel Flying Handicap over 1209 metres at Gawler today.
Addiction To Rock had enjoyed an excellent 3 year old season, winning 3 Saturday races in town and running third in the Listed Nitschke Stakes. However, The Rock's consistency was punished by the handicapper and he carried the Number 1 saddlecloth more often than not in his 3 year old days, with Mark Minervini invariably requiring the services of an apprentice to provide weight relief to the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding.
Accordingly, Addiction To Rock looked extremely well placed with just 53.5kg in the event. The light weight also meant he was able to renew acquaintances with leading South Australian hoop, Adrian Patterson, who rode Addiction To Rock in the Nitschke Stakes, arguably The Rock's best performance.
Settling well away from the speed, Patto set The Rock alight at the 500 metres and by the time they straightened for home, Addiction To Rock had quickly run to third and then exploded past the leaders to record a very comfortable 1 3/4 length victory. Gawler's racecaller made no effort to hide how impressed he was with the ease of The Rock's victory. In fact, the only nervous moment for connections was pre-race, with Addiction To Rock having to survive a veterinary inspection behind the gates before taking his place in the field.
The win further improves Addiction To Rock's impressive record to 5 wins and 7 placings from 16 starts, with total prizemoney of $181,000. As always, The Rock is bound to be ultra-competitive wherever he lines up next.