Keys and Newitt combine at The Valley

AUSTRALIA Jul 31 2021 13:45

Rock Artist has followed up a Moe maiden with victory at The Valley.

The Ken and Kasey Keys stable is striking up a successful association with Craig Newitt and it was on show at The Valley.

After registering a comfortable maiden win with Rock Artist at Moe last month, the combination was back at it on Saturday taking out the Mia Kleer Hand Sanitiser Handicap (1000m).

As was the case at Moe, Newitt drove Rock Artist hard from the barriers to cross and take up the lead, but this time there was plenty of pressure.

Newitt described Rock Artist ($15) as a bull-dog as he held off a late dive from Direct ($5.50) to score by a short-half-head with the $1.75 favourite Jigsaw a head away third.

"He's a really nice horse this bloke," Newitt said.

"I trialled him up before he ran first-up and he trialled alongside Jigsaw, so we got a bit of a measuring stick there.

"We were very confident when we went to the races in a maiden and coming here today, drawn wide, it was going to be a little unknown where we would end up.

"But once he flew thelidsI thought I'd press the issue and go forward.

"He's a funny horse, because I think if you sit off them, he'll just go with them a bit, but if he's got his head in front, he's got a bit of dog about him and he loves a fight and he was holding them all at bay then."

Kasey Keys said the training partnership would assess how Rock Artist recovers from Saturday's win but was already considering a step up to stakes company.

Races on the table are the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 14 or the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at The Valley the following week.

"We'll just see how he pulls up and make a decision," Keys said.

"We won the McKenzie with Rich Enough and ran third with FreeToMove last year, so it would be nice to come back, but we'll wait and see."

Craig Brennan - Racing And Sports

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