A CHANGE of tactics and more work during the week may have helped Rockon Tommy win the Tabtouch Handicap at Belmont on Saturday, June 30.
After the race trainer Bill Doughty of Eglinton said he was confident going into the race and not just because he’d drawn a better barrier.
“He’s been hanging around for awhile running fourth and fifth,’’ he said.
“I was confident (today) not so much the gate but we knew the horse that was going to lead and with a little bit of luck we’d be sitting right behind them.’’
Rockon Tommy was the first horse away with the favourite Disruptive and Arrum Boy who both also got away quickly hunting the lead.
At 1200m Rockon Tommy who tends to over race was getting a little keen so jockey Peter Knuckey left the rails as Arrum Boy settled back.
With the field a little spread out at 850m Disruptive held the lead with Rockon Tommy back about a length and a half with Arrum Boy about the same distance away in third.
At the 200m Rockon Tommy loomed up beside Disruptive to then pull away to claim his first win since October last year.
Doughty said in hindsight he should have taken the Vital Equine and Sushi Quatro gelding to the Guineas (1600m) instead of going back to the 1200m.
After the win jockey Peter Knuckey said it was definitely good to get the win as the horse had been such a handful.
“Bill is such a good horseman – like he’s in his late 70s and he’s the only one who rides Rockon Tommy now and we’ve always tried to curb his habits and today we said let’s just let him run and he was well a lot more tractable today,’’ he said.
“It’s all about Bill and the family they’ve gone through a lot to get him here today.
“he won his first three races coming from off the pace and that’s where the owners always want him to do.
“But as the grades got harder he’s just been harder to ride.
“Bill said don’t fight him today just let him run and Bill said he’s done some extra work with him this week and he’s settled good for me and he’s kicked for us.’’
Knuckey said he would have been happy to sit behind Disruptive if Rockon Tommy had settled.
“(But) he got his head up in the air and he wanted to go again so I thought I don’t want to get in a fight with him so when he came off one off there was no-one outside me and that’s what he likes.”
He said this race Rockon Tommy relaxed and then was strong at the finish.