Mike Becker wasn’t going to stand a stallion so soon after launching Stockwell Thoroughbreds but he couldn’t let the chance slip when offered Fastnet Rock’s Group 2 winner Rock Sturdy.
“I guess old habits are hard to break,” Becker conceded. “But I found it impossible to pass up the opportunity when Gooree Stud asked me to stand him in Victoria.”
Rock Sturdy (5h Fastnet Rock – Tzu Hsi by Quest For Fame) was trained by Joe Pride and in his first prep won a Canterbury maiden on the way to a Group 3 placing in the Carbine Club Stakes during the 2014 Championships at Randwick.
He came of age the following spring in a meteoric rise up the ranks in Sydney. “He’s a nice colt, I’ve always had an opinion of him,” Pride said after a Benchmark 80 win at Rosehill. “He has a lot of upside and is an exciting horse.”
Pride was bang on the money. Rock Sturdy doubled up on a Heavy 8 at Randwick (1400m) and then ran Group 1 winner Manawanui to a head in the G3 Bill Ritchie Hcp (1400m).
That was the prelude to a career-best victory a week later in the G2 Shannon Stakes (1500m). “I like what I saw today,” Pride remarked after a crushing victory at Rosehill. “It was a pretty soft win and he wasn’t under much pressure.”
Rock Sturdy had got under the handicapper’s guard with just 52kg for the G1 Epsom Hcp (1600m) and was pre-post favourite to join Gooree star Desert War in the Big Mile.
“But the Epsom was the last thing on our minds when we realised he had pulled up with a suspensory,” Pride recalled. “Not many horses return from that sort of injury but he came back and finished third to Turn Me Loose in the G1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington last year.
“That showed me what he was capable of at his best. He had a winning attitude and just found a way to get the job done.”
Stockwell Thoroughbreds will stand Rock Sturdy as its foundation stallion at Diggers Rest for a $7,700 (inc gst) service fee. His dam Tzu Hsi defeated Cheeky Choice in a Randwick nursery and the runner-up went on to win a G1 Flight Stakes.
“There’s no shortage of Fastnet Rock stallions out there,” Becker said. “But Rock Sturdy was top-class and his family goes back to Cozzene who won a Breeders’ Cup Mile and was Champion USA Sire at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky.
“I’m looking forward to doing business with Gooree again. They are serious horse people and were strong supporters of Artie Schiller while he was based with me in Victoria.
“And yes, I’m very happy to be standing a stallion again. Especially one with a stallion’s pedigree like Rock Sturdy.”
For more information & enquiries, broodmare owners should contact Mike Becker (0412 538 155) or Brodie Becker (0437 788 434).