Upon This Rock, chasing her second WA feature win in the La Trice Classic, is regarded as the pick of trainer Gai Waterhouse's New Year's Day assault, according to her racing manager Bruce Slade.

Perth jockey Daniel Staeck displayed plenty of vigour aboard Upon This Rock in the Starstruck Classic (1600m) last Saturday week, lifting the beautifully-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock to a grinding victory over $3.60 favourite Rantorini.

Staeck keeps the ride on Upon This Rock, who has 57.5kg under the set-weight-with-penalties conditions of the Listed 1800m event.

So confident was Slade of a top performance from the $2.75 favourite at Ascot, he tipped her as the pick of Waterhouse's runners racing in Perth and Sydney.

Waterhouse has five starters at Rosehill, including Charing Cross in the $100,000 Tattersalls Club Cup (2000m). Her other runners are Jordan, No Looking Back, Darci Drama and City Of Light.

"She is our best chance," Slade said. "She will again be ridden positively and hopefully will grind them out again.

"The Starstruck was to be her last race in Perth, but Daniel (Staeck) felt the 1800m here would be no trouble for her to run out.

"We are really happy with her and according to our speed ratings, she comes out a top player again."

Trainer Justin Warwick chases consecutive wins in the La Trice with Rosie Rocket, who drops back to race against her own sex after racing gamely at the top level, highlighted by her brave third in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).

Rosie Rocket and Mabel Grace are the highest-rated mares in the race at 102 and 101, and meet their opponents with a big weight pull under the set-weight conditions.

Adam Durrant-trained Mabel Grace drops from 61kg to 57.5kg today on her sixth in the Starstruck. She carried 60kg to win the Jungle Dawn Classic (1400m) two starts ago.

Durrant also saddles the $3 favourite Texan, who lumps the 59kg topweight in the Schweppes Summer Scorcher (1000m). Staeck replaces the injured Peter Hall on the Hannan's Handicap winner.

Texan was a close third to Scorcher foe Excelorada in last Saturday week's Crawford Stakes (1000m).

"He did his best work inside the last 100m last start," Durrant said. "This time we will go forward and attack and just keep attacking."

·French jockey Jerome Lermyte's first win in Australia at Mt Barker yesterday came at a cost. He was taken to hospital suffering from heat stress and won't ride Dreamaway in the Perth Cup today.

Kingston Town Classic-winning jockey Shaun O'Donnell will replace Lermyte.


  • ·Ascot form * Inside

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