Deserving Win to Love On The Rocks

Deserving Win to Love On The Rocks

Bruce Stewart

14th April 2022

Love On The Rocks capped off his great formline when he took out the time honoured Hunter Family Handicap at Wyndham today.

Driver Mark Hurrell settled the five year old into fourth early in a small field.

At the 800 metres Love On The Rocks was last and copped some of the backwash when stablemate Paddyproudfoot broke.

Love On The Rocks warming up for Mark Hurrell

The Hunter Handicap field with a lap to run. Winner Love On The Rock is tucked away on the inside.

Inside the last 500 metres Hurrell wasn’t going to run into any more trouble, so he set Love On The Rocks alight and they were forced five wide into the last bend.

Under the urging of Hurrell the horse let down with a genuine run to get up and beat Peroni by a neck with another neck back to favourite Tommy Waterhouse.

Love On The Rocks (outside) getting up to win

Returning back to the birdcage

Love On The Rocks breeder Tom Kilkelly bought the horse’s dam Uroc On from Vicky Cowan and after she went in the wind, he sent her to stud where he bred four foals.

“The first one was no good. The next one, (Ranga Roc) Kirstin didn’t like. He went to Australia and went super over there,” he said.

The next foal was Chuckles who’s won eight races, with Love On The Rocks being the mare’s last foal.

“The whole family has been brilliant but unfortunately we don’t have the mare anymore.”

As a driver, Hurrell has been the perfect match for Love On The Rocks.

“He’s just got better. Mark has done a great job with him. He sat back today and didn’t try and play the cowboy and got round them. He’s not the perfect horse to drive.”

Kilkelly owns the gelding with his wife Julie, daughter-in-law Hollie Brown, and Shay McKenzie.

He says the horse will next race in the Southern Country Cups Final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park at the end of the month.

The Hunter Handicap goes back a long way. The records I have access to tell me there was a Hunter Handicap in 1956 so it could well be the longest run race in the Club’s history.

Next year the Wyndham HRC celebrates its centennial. The Clubs was formed in 1923 lead by a group headed by Joseph Hunter with the first non-totalisator meeting held that year.

One of the first features the Club ran was the Wyndham Classic. It became the most important juvenile event in Southland and in 1950 received an incredible 156 entries.