Rock Diva to meet champion sire

Mark Du Plessis saluting as Rock Diva is led back to scale following the Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup triumph for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Mark Du Plessis saluting as Rock Diva is led back to scale following the 2015 Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup triumph for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

The next appearance away from home for Auckland Cup winner Rock Diva will be in the serving barn at Waikato Stud.

The Cambridge mare has battling health problems since her fine win in the 2015 Auckland Cup and the decision has been made to retire her to stud with champion sire Savabeel being chosen for her first mating.

It is unfortunate Rock Diva has not been able to race on since her notable Ellerslie success as she looked capable of adding to her good record, but her value as a broodmare outweighs the risks of trying her on the track again.

A daughter of Lucky Unicorn, Rock Diva is from Bomehian Blues, who has produced two other top-liners, Shamrocker (Australian Derby, Australian Guineas) and Bohemian Lily (Gr. 2 Doomben Roses and Listed Gold Coast Bracelet).

Rock Diva was trained at Cambridge by Tony Pike and won three of her 15 starts and was placed on a further 10 occasions.

She showed immediate talent on the racetrack when placed in her first two starts before winning when stepped up over ground (2100m) at Pukekohe in February 2014.

She then went on to win the Gr. 3 McLee Family Sunline Vase at Ellerslie before finishing third in the Gr. 1 Wellfield NZ Oaks (2400m). Those performances earned her a trip to the Queensland Winter Carnival where she ran fourth in both the Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks and Gr. 1 Queensland Derby.

After such a successful three-year-old season she came back as a four-year-old to top it all off with her Auckland Cup win in the hands of Mark Du Plessis.

She went into the Auckland Cup with five lead-up placings including a third in the Gr. 2 Go Racing Syndications Avondale Gold Cup.