Queensland’s current sand track star ‘Kobe Rocks’ a contender for Roma Cup.

Published 2 November 2023

Queensland’s current sand track star ‘Kobe Rocks’ a contender for Roma Cup.

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Introducing, “Kobe” as members of his 20 strong fan-base reckon he “rocks”.

More so on sand of course which understandably could ponder the question – what’s this all leading to? 

Easily explained as it leads down south some 468km from Kobe’s Callaghan Park racecourse address to Roma’s Bassett Park track.

There on Saturday, November 18 he will contest the Roma Cup Country Cups Challenge Qualifier (1640m) on his favourite racing surface – sand.

Kobe is none other than Queensland’s current sand track star in the six-year-old gelding Kobe Rocks (NZ) (a son of Rock ‘N’ Pop) trained by Jared Wehlow and raced by 20 owners who understandably are rocking and rolling. 

Given that Australian racing is in the grip of the Spring Racing Cups Carnival in Melbourne, it’s fitting that Kobe receives due recognition as well.

Afterall, over the past three months Kobe Rocks (NZ) has won three feature Country Cups and all have been on sand tracks.

First of all, on July 29 he scored an emphatic 6.3 lengths win in the $17,500 Bundaberg Cup Gold Cup (1380m).

A fortnight later Kobe made a one-act-affair of the $15,000 Gladstone Cup (1608m) romping home by 5.75 lengths.

He was so far ahead in the straight that the commentator boldly shrieked out words to the effect “he could stop and make a sandcastle and still win”.  

A week later Kobe Rocks (NZ) was a close third in the $24,300 Gympie Muster Cup (1470m) but he atoned there just last Saturday winning the $22,300 Gympie Cup (1600m) carrying 60.5 kg.

So, in just four starts on sand tracks, Kobe Rocks (NZ) has won three Cups and run a close third in another earning $40,290 in the process.

Old mate Kobe is no one track wonder horse, as on turf tracks Jared Wehlow has put him down on, he won at Rockhampton as well as being placed there and at Mackay.

Versatile to say the least and those contests brought in another 15.5 grand.  

According to all reports, only for a very wide draw in $15,000 Eidsvold Cup (1350m) on a track bearing some grass but mainly dirt, Kobe may still have won instead of being beaten less than a length and earning just $600.

“The track there was so hard, and he did a very good job under the circumstances but was not comfortable on the surface”, trainer Wehlow said. 

So, all up Kobe has earned $56,390 in nine starts since Jared Wehlow, himself a part-owner, acquired him for a paltry $11,000 at an Inglis online sale in February this year.

Any wonder Kobe’s owners reckon he “rocks”. 

They include syndicate manager Mackay’s Kerrod Power of Hands and Heels Racing who sourced out Kobe Rocks (NZ) as well as the Longreach’s Andrew Watts and Max Tanks. 

It comes as no surprise to trainer Wehlow as to why Kobe relishes sand tracks.

“He loves wet tracks as his record suggests””, Jared said, and I went chasing-up.

Spot on, as on debut at Otaki in New Zealand on September 3, 2020, Kobe Rocks (NZ) as a mere youngster won and later while maturing with Bjorn Baker in Sydney, he won on heavy going at Warwick Farm.

Further confirmation of what Jared Wehlow said, Kobe was placed both at Randwick and Canterbury on heavy tracks as well.

“We thought if he likes it heavy, he may like the sand as he also worked well on it at Callaghan Park when training. So, we tried it and yes it certainly worked out”, Jared said. 

That’s for sure to the tune of just over $42,000 with the possibility of another $30K should Kobe “rock” at Roma in a fortnight’s time.

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