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Roch ‘N’ Horse headlines Group 1 upsets on Champions Stakes Day at Flemington

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It was not a good day for favourites at Flemington on Saturday, with upsets in all three Group 1 races on Champions Stakes Day. 

Nature Strip, Private Eye and Anamoe were well-backed to win their respective races, but remarkably, all three failed to place.

MORE: James McDonald banned for eight meetings | She’s Extreme wins $1 million VRC Oaks

Roch ‘N’ Horse claims another shock Group 1 win

Roch ‘N’ Horse won the 2022 Darley Champions Sprint, defeating the likes of Nature Strip and Giga Kick in what was widely predicted to be a two-horse race.

It is not the first time the six-year-old mare has snared a shock victory, having won as a $126 long-shot in the Newmarket Handicap in Autumn. 

Rated a $23 chance by TAB before the jump, it was fair to say that the Michael Moroney-trained horse was not on many punter’s radars at Flemington.

However, ridden by jockey Jamie Mott, Roch ‘N’ Horse stormed home from the middle of the pack to claim a second Group 1 crown. 

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Nature Strip was unable to bounce back after losing The Everest three weeks ago, but was only narrowly pipped by the winner on this occasion.

Giga Kick – who did win this year’s Everest – ran strongly but missed out on a placing, despite coming into the race as the second favourite.

Alligator Blood picks up tough win at Flemington


After consecutive fifth-place finishes at the Cox Plate and Might and Power Stakes, Alligator Blood claimed his first win since the Underwood Stakes in September.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, the gelding was quick out of barrier three with jockey Tim Clark on board and led for the duration of the race.

Whilst not a major shock as the second favourite (priced at $6.00 by TAB), the six-year-old had to hold off some strong competition in the final straight but did not budge, with Tuvalu and Mr Brightside rounding out the placings.

Zaaki goes back-to-back in Champions Stakes

Wrapping up a stacked day of racing at Flemington was the Champions Stakes, which was headlined by Cox Plate winner Anamoe and Makybe Diva Stakes champion I’m Thunderstruck.

However, it was a different big-name horse that took centre stage, with Zaaki romping home to pick up his second consecutive Champions Stakes win. 

Despite Zaaki’s status and previous success, recent results had the gelding rated at $8.50 by TAB.

Ridden by Jamie Kah, the Annabel Neasham-trained horse broke clear with 300 metres remaining on the straight and never looked back.

The result also brings Anamoe’s three-race winning streak to an end.


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