Esta La Roca winning at The Valley (Image: Racing Photos)
The Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge record could be given a nudge at The Valley on Friday night by the Lloyd Kennewell-trained three-year-old filly Esta La Roca.
Esta La Roca was one of 10 horses who galloped at the track on Monday morning ahead of their intended engagements at the venue later in the week, with the track in quick condition and horses producing times faster than usual ahead of race day.
Joe Bowditch, who has ridden Esta La Roca in each of her four starts, partnered the daughter of El Roca in her gallop. She worked alone and covered 800 metres in a hand-timed 51.09 seconds, with her final 400m in a slick 23.13s.
Esta La Roca resumed earlier this month by winning the seventh heat of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge (955m), at Benchmark 64 level, in 54.94s, which is only the 13th occasion the winning time was sub-55 seconds.
However, Esta La Roca's heat win was the fourth time the 55-second mark has been broken this season, including the two quickest times for the distance range ever - Meteorite (54.54s) and Sartorial Splendor (54.65s) having both surpassed Vatican's record of 54.69s from February 2013 - which also indicates The Valley track is ripe for a record attempt.
LADBROKES 55 SECOND CHALLENGE TIMES IN 2020/21
Meteorite (heat 2) - 54.54s
Sartorial Splendor (heat 3) - 54.65s
Grandview Avenue (heat 6) - 54.74
Esta La Roca (heat 7) - 54.94s
Rock Tycoon (heat 5) - 55.07s
Gorokan Express (heat 4) - 55.09s
Rock Tycoon (heat 8) - 55.41s
Alfa Oro (heat 1) - 55.9s