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Awesome Rock to bounce back at Flemington

All is in readiness for an international mission for Awesome Rock but the horse has an important assignment on his home track first.

Awesome Rock runs in Saturday’s Group One Australian Cup at Flemington – the same race he was first past the post in a year ago only to be relegated to second on protest to Preferment for shifting out in the straight.

The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained Awesome Rock made amends with a Group One weight-for-age win over the Flemington 2000m in the Emirates Stakes last spring.

He will be out to bounce back on Saturday from a disappointing last-start run in the Peter Young Stakes.

Awesome Rock is scheduled to fly out next week to contest the $US6 million Dubai Turf at Meydan on March 25 so long as he runs well and pulls up injury-free from Saturday.

“We’re ready to go. We fly out on Wednesday night for Dubai for the 1800-metre race over there,” Troy Corstens said.

“I’m really looking forward to that. I think it will be a real challenge for him and the track and distance should suit over there. Hopefully he travels well and we can get the job done internationally.”

The QEII Cup in Hong Kong in April is also on the agenda.

Corstens said he was “flattened” by Awesome Rock’s last start 10th in the Peter Young (1800m) but believes the horse can bounce back.

“It was really disappointing and to be honest it was probably the worst run he has put in in his life, other than when he ran a shocker on a wet track in Sydney (in last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes),” Corstens said.

“I just don’t think he was himself but I don’t know what it was. Whether it was the inoculations or what, I’m not sure.

“But he seems much better in himself this week. He bounced though that run, his blood is good so I’m looking forward to Saturday.

“He pulled up really well after his gallop yesterday.”

Awesome Rock has barrier six in the field of 12 which Corstens thinks is perfect.

“I think we’ll be able to roll forward a little bit and I think the tempo of the 2000-metre race just suits him better and back to Flemington should be ideal,” he said.

Awesome Rock is at $21 with Humidor favourite at $4.20 just ahead of Caulfield Cup winner Jameka at $4.60.

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