Rock Of Gibraltar’s Big Rock Rallies For Prix La Force Triumph

Yeguada Centurion’s 3-year-old colt Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}–Hardiyna {Ire}, by Sea The Stars {Ire}), who failed to nose ahead in each of his first three outings, graduated in a Feb. 2 handicap at Chantilly and repeated the dose back there in last month’s Mar. 3 Listed Prix Maurice Caillault. Sent forward for a sterner test in Sunday’s G3 Prix La Force at ParisLongchamp, he dented a host of lofty reputations with a game performance in the nine-furlong French Derby trial to register a career high. Big Rock was swiftly into stride from the inside stall and dictated proceedings on the front end for the most part. Scrubbed along when headed by ‘TDN Rising StarPadishakh (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) passing the quarter-mile marker, the 19-5 chance rallied gamely to reclaim control approaching the final furlong and kept on strongly in the latter stages to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. Ballydoyle raider Greenland (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) ran on with gusto inside the final quarter-mile to finish a head adrift of Padishakh at the line.

“It was our intention to take advantage of his inside draw,” revealed trainer Christopher Head. “We knew his ability on the all-weather, but there was a question mark about the turf. We didn’t want to complicate matters, so making the running was the sensible option and he handled everything with aplomb. He has that ability to set a lively pace and still find an extra gear, which is what you expect from a good horse. Evidently, the [June 4 G1] Prix du Jockey Club [at Chantilly] is the target, but he is not a horse to remain two months without a race. As long as he is well, he will have one more run before the French Derby. Which one has not yet been decided and we will discuss his programme with the owner.”

Big Rock is the first foal of two foals produced by an unraced daughter of G3 Silver Flash S. victrix and G1 Moyglare Stud S. third Harasiya (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}), herself a half-sister to five black-type performers headed by G1 Derby and G1 Irish Derby-winning sire Harzand (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}). The February-foaled dark bay, half to a 2-year-old colt by Ten Sovereigns (Ire), is from the family of last term’s G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares victrix and G1 Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), MG1SW G1 Irish Derby hero Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares winner Seal Of Approval (GB) (Authorized {Ire}).

Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
PRIX LA FORCE-G3, €80,000, ParisLongchamp, 4-9, 3yo, c/g, 9fT, 1:49.63, g/s.
1–BIG ROCK (FR), 128, c, 3, by Rock Of Gibraltar (Ire)
1st Dam: Hardiyna (Ire), by Sea The Stars (Ire)
2nd Dam: Harasiya (Ire), by Pivotal (GB)
3rd Dam: Hazariya (Ire), by Xaar (GB)
1ST GROUP WIN. O/B-Yeguada Centurion SLU (FR); T-Christopher Head; J-Aurelien Lemaitre. €40,000. Lifetime Record: 6-3-2-0, €94,650. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Padishakh (Fr), 128, c, 3, Wootton Bassett (GB)–Penny Lane (Ger), by Lord Of England (Ger). 1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (€130,000 Ylg ’21 ARQAUG). O-Nurlan Bizakov; B-Haras d’Etreham, Riviera Equine SARL & Ecurie de Montlahuc (FR); T-Jean-Claude Rouget. €16,000.
3–Greenland (Ire), 128, c, 3, Saxon Warrior (Jpn)–Aktoria (Fr), by Canford Cliffs (Ire). 1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (160,000gns Wlg ’20 TATFOA; 300,000gns Ylg ’21 TATOCT). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Westerberg; B-SCEA Marmion & Alain Jathiere (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €12,000.
Margins: 2HF, HD, 1HF. Odds: 3.80, 1.70, 11.00.
Also Ran: Rashford (Fr), Horizon Dore (Fr), Birr Castle (Fr), Zalamo (Fr), Duc De Kent (Fr). Video, sponsored by TVG.

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