A masterful ride by leading jockey Mark Du Plessis paved the way for Rock Riva to score an amazing win in the Group 1 Auckland Cup.
Back near last before the turn, Du Plessis weaved a passage and stormed late to defeat King Kamada and Pondarosa Miss.
“I only really had one instruction and that was to just get her to relax the first half,” he said.
“I didn’t think she would be last but we just summed it up as she went round, she was in a beautiful rhythm and I was able to get a bit of luck in the straight.”
The win was the first Auckland Cup success for trainer Tony Pike and he praised the performance of Du Plessis following the win.
“I left it up to Mark,” Pike said. “I just told him to switch her off and save her up. I said it was up to him what he did after that.
“He showed such a lot of patience even when he was being held up looking for a gap. And even at the furlong when he got clear I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get up. But in the end she was dominant at the line.
“It was a very clever ride by Mark, getting her out just at the right time.”
Pike said Rock Diva was likely to head to the paddock with a view towards the spring carnival features.
“She’s likely to spell now – she’s had a long campaign – and we’ll look at the options for the spring.”