Rokanori primed for second-up assault

There is growing confidence in the Williams camp that Rokanori can show his promise and improve second up at Belmont on Saturday.

Touted as a Pinnacles carnival prospect later in the summer, Rokanori will strip in fine order for the Pink Ladies Day 1st Of July Handicap (1400m) after his return run two weeks ago.

The Awesome Rock gelding, runner-up in last year's Listed Raconteur Stakes (1400m), ran fourth to Snowdome over 6 f, beaten two lengths after peaking on his run inside the last 100m.

Grant Williams said the final tick of approval from co-trainer and partner, Alana Williams, leaves him confident that Rokanori will be improved with a run under his belt.

"He did need the run the other day," Williams said on Tabradio.

"I probably erred in not trialing him twice because he had such a long time off.

"He knocked up in his trial and knocked up in his race.

"He's come on good since that and we've put some good work into him.

"He went to the track last Friday and we got a good gallop into him.

"Larns (Alana) said during the week she's very happy with where he is at.

"Hopefully we can go to the track tomorrow (Saturday) with a bit more confidence.

"I'm expecting him to go a lot better."

Bought for $165,000 as a yearling, Rokanori has returned $180,000 in stakearnings following four wins and two placings from 10 career starts.

Confident he has scope for black-type races down the track, Williams says a lucrative winter campaign will determine how far he can reach.

"It just depends where he is at," Williams said.

"He needs to start winning these races to be considering anything like that.

"He's ratings are still too low, so the horse will tell us.

"Hopefully there are enough of these races over the next two months.

"If he can win two or three we can maybe think about for later in the year."

Tabtouch has Rokanori $3.60 and favourite. From barrier seven he has the services of last-race specialist, William Pike.

Meanwhile stable mate Catalpa is the rock-solid $2.25 favourite in the Peninsula Dining Room Handicap (1400m).

The four-year-old won first-up with authority over promising gelding Brave Venture and raced wide when fifth to Man Crush.

Catalpa, drawn in barrier seven, will have the services of jockey, William Pike for the first time in a race.

Williams rates Catalpa a top winning prospect.

"I can't fault Catalpa's prep, his two starts have been really good," Williams said.

"He'll probably benefit from a senior jockey going back on.

"It gives him a good chance and he hasn't gone backwards."

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