Red Rocks Wins Gordon Richards at Sandown

J. Paul Reddam's Red Rocks, who is expected to conclude his 4-year-old season with a defense of his John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) title, got his 2007 European campaign off to a promising start with a two-length victory in the Betfred Gordon Richards Stakes (Eng-III) at Sandown Friday.

Frankie Dettori was back aboard the Irish-bred son of Galileo for trainer Brian Meehan on a course rated good to firm in places for the 1 1/4-mile test.

Red Rocks, racing with a seven-pound penalty was held up in fifth of the six-horse field as Mountain High set a solid pace while pressed by Mashaahed and Kandidate, who settled for the second and third placings. Red Rocks made headway over the final two furlongs on the outside and won easily at 11-4 odds. Fellow group I winner Notnowcato settled for fourth, with Mountain High and Art Deco trailing.

"His season is all about working back to the Breeders' Cup," Meehan told Racing Post. "I'm relieved to get him back on a winning note and I suppose the likes of the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Eng-I) at the Curragh and the Prince of Wales's (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot would be likely top races for him, although I have to talk to the owner and Frankie."

Dettori, as Godolphin's number one rider, can be expected to have other commitments, although he has three wins and three seconds when teamed with Red Rocks in six tries.

Red Rocks disappointed with a ninth-place finish in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) a month ago when Dettori, aboard Godolphin's Best Alibi, set a slow pace, never allowing Red Rocks to get involved. On Friday, Dettori announced, "The Rock is back" after his flying dismount. 

"He is a wonderful horse and has done me proud. That was a tremendous performance with his 7-pound penalty," he told Racing Post.

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