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Gear change works wonders for Ronan’s Rock

ronan's rock
Multiple gear changes have helped Ronan’s Rock to an impressive victory at Sandown for Lindsay Park.

Trainer David Hayes has had mixed results with multiple gear changes on two Lindsay Park horses at Sandown.

The alterations worked for Ronan’s Rock, successful in Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Plate, but did not have the desired effect with Conqueror who finished last in the Ladbrokes Enhanced Odds Handicap.

Ronan’s Rock was lining up for his fourth start and went into the race without a cross-over nose band and lugging bit but with the addition of a one-eyed blinker, a standard bit and a bubble cheeker.

“He’d been beating himself by hanging in,” Hayes, Lindsay Park’s senior trainer, said.

“The stable has always had a good opinion of him and we think he can measure up to stakes class, whether that’s this prep or next.”

Ridden by Damien Oliver, Ronan’s Rock was sent off the $2.10 favourite and ran out a 1-3/4 length winner over Little Phoenix ($2.80).

Oliver said having ridden Ronan’s Rock previously helped his cause and he recommended gear changes before riding the colt at Pakenham earlier this month.

“I’d watched his replays and thought he needed some gear changes,” Oliver said.

“But it was too late before his last run but he’s got the job done today.

“They didn’t go hard but he showed nice acceleration at the top of the straight today and hopefully he can go on from here.”

Lindsay Park’s Conqueror had winkers on for his race debut when second to Game Keeper on February 6 and had those replaced with blinkers when sent out the $2.70 favourite on Wednesday.

But the colt missed the start by three lengths and failed to pass another runner.

“I was disappointed with him,” Hayes said.

“He raced a little bit flat and missed the start and did a bit wrong.

“I think he’s a nice horse but he might have sent me a message that he needs a bit more time.”

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