Champion sprinter Rocket Man made a stunning return to the track at Kranji on Sunday night as he prepares for another international mission – this time to Japan.
The Australian bred super star son of Viscount led from start to finish – the further the race went, the large the margin between he and the rest of the field grew.
As he skipped to the post he held a five length margin over his nearest rival Flying Fulton, while former Aussie galloper Better Be the One was another length back in third place in the $125,000 feature event.
Trainer Patrick Shaw said he was delighted with where his stable star was positioned in relation to his next run – in the Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on October 2.
“I was just saying to Michael Freedman how stressful the early runs can be,” Shaw said.
“You wonder if you have done all the right things to have the horse fit, so by the time the big races come about you are actually quite relaxed.”
“We’ll have him checked tomorrow and make sure there are no problems with him and then we’ll press ahead with our plans for Japan.”
Shaw planned to send Rocket Man for last year’s Sprinters Stakes in Japan but the trip was aborted when he wasn’t happy with his champ’s weight a few days prior to his flight.
“We made a few changes to his training to make sure we left some weight on him.”
“He’s had a little less speed work and his trials have been a lot easier,” Shaw added.
“The travel can take come weight off him so I’m being careful not to have him right at his top just yet.”
“There is still plenty of time for that.”
Winning rider Barend Vorster, who will stand aside as Rocket Man’s rider in Japan for Felix Coetzee, said Rocket Man was at about 85 per cent tonight.
“I only showed him the stick but didn’t hit him,” Vorster said. “He responded so well and I didn’t want to go hurting him too much with the Japan trip coming up.”
“He was doing it all at his own pace down the back straight and he quickened up nicely when I asked him to on the hometurn.”
“I’m still expecting quite a bit of improvement to come from him with that run under him and no doubt it will sharpen him up.”
A half brother to the South African based Group One winner Our Giant, Rocket Man is raced by South African based businessman Fred Crabbia.
Crabbia was on track – having flown in on Sunday morning to watch his champion.
“There’s not a lot more you can say about him,” Crabbia said. “It’s a great thrill to be here to see him win so well again.”
Rocket Man, bred by Dean Fleming, was sold to Andy Williams’ World Wide Bloodstock for $60,000 through the draft of Tyreel Stud at the 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast.
He has won 17 of his 21 starts to date – and finished second on the other four occasions beaten no more than a long neck. He’s already won the equivalent of $4.3 million and has won in Dubai and Hong Kong as well as Singapore.
PICS – Singapore Turf Club.