Rocket Man scored one of the most scintillating wins on the international sprinting stage on Sunday night when he demoralised his rivals in the S$1 million Group One KrisFlyer International Sprint.
Despite being caught deep during the early and middle stages, the champion of Singapore was able to race clear in the home straight for an almost five length success.
The ease of the win was almost unprecedented – jumping from an outside barrier, caught three deep for much of the race and against the best sprinters of Singapore and Hong Kong and still he made his rivals look second rate.
Rocket Man, an Australian bred and sold sprinter by Viscount, was sent out the red hot favourite after a similar demolition of his rivals in the recent S$500,000 Lion City Cup at Kranji.
At his previous run he travelled to Dubai for a resounding win in the US$2 million Golden Shaheen at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night.
Kranji, Singapore’s famous racecourse, had never hosted such scenes in its history. The massive crowd roaring with approval as their pin-up galloper raced home in emphatic style.
Trainer Patrick Shaw had no hesitation in announcing Rocket Man as the world’s best sprinter – saying he deserved the title having been proven on the international scene as opposed to Aussie star Black Caviar.
“I was never really concerned when he was caught three wide early on,” Shaw said. “I know he can sit anywhere and just switch off.”
“He was always travelling well and I had no doubt he would be hard to beat once he straightened up. This is an amazing victory, for Fred (Crabbia, owner), for us, for Singapore.”
“He’s obviously older and getting stronger. I’ll see how he pulls up but there are a few options overseas we are already considering.”
“His well being comes first. I’ll speak to Barend (Vorster) and Felix (Coetzee) and decide from there what the options will be.”
“The July Cup at Newmarket is one, Japan and Australia further down the road. I’m going to England to have a look and I can stay at Mike de Kock’s yard at Newmarket.”
“I’ve also been invited to go and inspect the quarantine facilities in Adelaide in Melbourne in two weeks,” Shaw told Thoroughbred News.
“They can bring her (Black Caviar) wherever they want. We’re happy to take her on. Tell them that.”
“I’ve been waiting to go to Australia to take her on for a while. I’ve seen her and she is a great mare, but Rocket Man is better than she is.”
Winning owner Fred Crabbia was almost lost for words after the race. The South African based businessman cheering himself hoarse with wife Manuela at Rocket Man’s latest biggest race success.
“This is my proudest moment in racing,” Crabbia said. “I thought the Dubai race was the best night of my life, but this is 20 times better.”
“To all the people who have had anything to do with this horse, I must thank you. To Pat and the staff in the stable, this is a huge thrill.”
“The horse proved himself a cut above the rest,” Crabbia added. “He’s a superstar.”
Star jockey Felix Coetzee was busy searching for the right superlatives to use after the victory.
“He was sensational,” Coetzee beamed from the winner’s stall. “It’s a privilege to ride him.”
“I took my time with him, when they pushed up inside him, I was never worried.”
“These champions help you, they tell you what to do. He had a lovely jump and took me into the race.”
“I’m just the guy who sits on top,” Coetzee added.
Rival riders were as complimentary of the winner.
“The winner is a champion,” runner-up Jose Verenzuela said.
“Rocket Man was in a league of his own,” Aussie star Steven Arnold added.
“Rocket Man is a great champion,” Royston Ffrench summed up the performance.
Rocket Man was selected and purchased as a yearling for $60,000 from the 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.
He was offered for sale by Tyreel Thoroughbred Stud and purchased by Andy Williams’ World Wide Bloodstock and is raced by South African based businessman Fred Crabbia.
The star five-year-old has won 16 of his 20 starts (he was second at other four – beaten no more than a long neck) and earned the equivalent of A$4,577,726.
Rocket Man is one of two international Group One winners produced by his stakes winning dam Macrosa. The other is Our Giant.
The man who bought Rocket Man as a yearling, South African based agent Andy Williams, was at Kranji to cheer home Rocket Man.
Williams will arrive on the Gold Coast tomorrow as he hunts his next champion at the Magic Millions National Sale over the coming days and weeks.
Winner: Rocket Man (Viscount-Macrosa)
Race: Singapore TC KrisFlyer International Sprint G1 (1200m)
Sold for: A$60,000
Sale: 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale
Vendor: Tyreel Thoroughbred Stud
Buyer: World Wide Bloodstock
Owner(s): Fred Crabbia
Trainer: Patrick Shaw (Kranji)