End of the Road for Wellfield sire

Road To Rock, the sire of dual Hong Kong Horse Of The Year Beauty Generation, passed away last week.

The Wellfield Lodge stallion had been battling laminitis issues in recent years and the tough decision was made to euthanise the dual Group One winner.

“He has had laminitis issues, which we have been managing for some time,” Wellfield Lodge director Bill Gleeson said.

“It got to the stage last week where we had to make a welfare decision on him, which was unfortunate.”

Road To Rock recorded victories in the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Gr.1 George Main Stakes (1600m) for trainer Anthony Cummings before retiring to Stud in New Zealand.

“We had a bit of an association with Anthony Cummings and he approached us to stand the horse,” Gleeson said.

The son of Encosta De Lago has sired four stakes winners to date, headlined by eight-time Group One winner Beauty Generation, a horse Wellfield has a strong affiliation with.

Bred by Greg Tomlinson under his Nearco Stud banner, Beauty Generation was purchased out of Highden Park’s 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft for $60,000 by Kylie Bax under her Hermes Syndications banner.

He then returned to Manawatu to undertake his early education at Wellfield Lodge.

“He came back to the farm after the yearling sales,” Gleeson said “He spent 12 months on the farm, we did all the work on him. As a late two-year-old he went over to Anthony Cummings.

“We have been in a privileged position to stand the horse, but to have a close affinity with his best performed son adds a bit of nostalgia to it all.”

While he served a minimal amount of mares in his last few seasons at stud, Gleeson said Beauty Generation’s success in Hong Kong began to peak interest in Road To Rock from Asia.

“It generated quite a bit of interest in the farm, particularly from Asia.

“Beauty Generation was the flagbearer for Road To Rock. As a result of his Asian success we fielded a number of calls about sending him to stud in China. But we resisted that opportunity because he meant a fair bit to us at the farm, he was a real character.”

While Gleeson said it is a sad time for the farm, he is looking forward to lining up a few of his progeny in the coming years.

“He had the ability to leave a good horse. His numbers dropped off dramatically over the last couple of years but we have kept breeding to him with specified matings and we expect there to be a few horses in the future to come.

“We have a couple that we really like that are in work. They are pretty well bred. There is a full to Art Deco and a full to Rock On and a half to Jessiegee.

“I think his days in the headlines aren’t quite finished yet. He was a good old soldier for the farm and it is always sad, particularly when you have had them for a number of years, they become a part of the farm.”

Meanwhile, with New Zealand under lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gleeson said the farm took a proactive approach last week in turning out their entire race team and he said the farm’s clients will hopefully benefit from the farm’s private track.

“We decided to close our racing team down straight away and bring them all back to Wellfield,” he said.

“We took a stance when you could keep training them, that we wouldn’t because of the current situation.

“As to what the future holds it is very difficult to tell.”

Although racing has temporarily ceased in New Zealand, Gleeson is looking forward to this weekend where House Of Cartier will carry Wellfield Lodge’s colours in the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick in Sydney.

Trained by expat Kiwi John Sargent, House of Cartier has had three runs this preparation, including a last start fourth-placing in the Gr.3 Jack Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m).

“She had her third start back the other day and went terrific,” Gleeson said.

“John was very bullish that she would go a very good race because she is rock hard fit and she had been working enormous.

“He said it was a pretty tough run, but she has come through Saturday’s race with flying colours, she has been bucking and squealing.

“At this point she is going to back-up in the Chairman’s Quality on Saturday. That’s something to look forward to.”

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