Rob Camilleri loves a challenge and that’s a very good thing after the Lara mentor recently took over training the immensely talented but enigmatic Freda Rocks.
To paraphrase a well-known nursery rhyme, when Freda Rocks is good, she is very, very good but when she is bad she can be horrid, as her form will attest.
Freda Rocks, which was trained by Mario Briganti until he suffered a severe hand injury, has won four of her 17 starts, the most recent a runaway 9.75 length 29.30sec (Best) romp at Sandown Park last Sunday, at her second start for Camilleri.
Her other three wins have been similarly emphatic, all by double figure margins.
A near-record 29.62sec Maiden success at Cranbourne, where she scored by 16 lengths, amazingly taking 10 starts to open her account, 34.17sec at The Meadows (600m) and 36.88sec at Sale (650m).
She has started favourite 12 times, odds-on on nine occasions.
“She’s got heaps of ability, it’s just about getting her head right,” Camilleri said.
“She ‘tricked’ us at Mount Gambier in a pretty average race at her first run for us but then she did the right thing by us last Sunday.
“We’ve tried a few little things with her, just changing things up, similar to what we did with Rajasthan (2019 Sandown Cup winner), and it’s seemed to work so far. She did have the ‘red’ box at Sandown but she left them for dead!
“I love working with dogs like her and trying to get inside their heads. Sometimes it’s just the most obscure thing that clicks with them.
“She’s honestly been a different dog since the weekend but we’ll know a lot more about how she’s going on Saturday.”
Freda Rocks’ stunning Sandown Park display on Anzac Day convinced Camilleri to have a crack at the Group 3 Ladies Bracelet heats (520m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night, where she’s drawn box eight in the second of four heats.
It will be the first time she’s exited the ‘pink’ and TAB has marked her at $11, which would be the first occasion she’s started at double figures.
“I was going to step her up – she can stay and her first start for us was over 600m at Mount Gambier – but she went brilliant at Sandown and we were taking Zipping Zarbo up for the Bracelet heats anyway so we decided to give her a go,” Camilleri explained.
“She’s got box eight so nothing will be coming down on her.”
Camilleri and partner Deb Coleman also have last start Listed Mount Gambier Cup winner Zipping Zarbo in heat one of the Bracelet.
Zipping Zarbo, the winner of 24 of her 50 starts, is on the third line of betting at $4.60 but will have to contend with box six, from where she finished last in a heat of the G1 Golden Easter Egg.
“She’s got her usual box – they must think she looks good in green – but if she steps her first two sections are very quick and she’ll put herself right in the race.”
WATCH: Freda Rocks (1) was ‘very, very good’ scoring by 9.8L in 29.30sec (Best) at Sandown Park on Anzac Day.
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