Rocket Man wins the Kranji Stakes A
Rocket Man wins the Kranji Stakes A

Rocket Man wins the Kranji Stakes A

(Photo : Singapore Turf Club)


Kranji, Polytrack, 1200m

2011 Signapore Horse of the Year, Rocket Man, bounced back into the winner’s circle in sparkling fashion in on Sunday when he ran his rivals off their feet to score his 19th win in his first outing after a three-month spell.

The star sprinter had been rested after his unplaced effort in the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint on 11 December and needed the run in the $125,000 Kranji Stakes A over 1200m on the Polytrack. It was the perfect finishing touch for Patrick Shaw’s charge before he embarks on his next overseas mission, the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over 1200m, which he won last year.

Rocket Man took a while to get back in shape after his Hong Kong quarantine, but with three winning barrier trials under the belt, he was fit and ready to put his best foot forward.

With Fred Crabbia, South African owner and Summerhill client, watching from the stands, Rocket Manjumped smartly to take up the running with Tuxedo Moon (John Powell up) in close attendance and the horse considered his only danger should he falter - Rapido Star (Joao Moreira up) - in fourth on the rails.

Rocket Man set a steady pace and, although Tuxedo Moon valiantly tried to make a race of it 400m out, the champion easily shook him off before drawing clear to score a soft win. Rapido Star ran on for second, 4.75 lengths back with Tuxedo Moon plugging on solidly for third.

“This was the perfect prep run for him. It should get him right for Dubai,” said Shaw. “Considering he hasn’t raced for a while and was giving weight to the others, it was a superb effort. He was also ridden hands and heels, which was perfect. I couldn’t be happier with that run.”

Jockey Barend Vorster also had every reason to give the thumbs-up ahead of Rocket Man’s departure to the UAE on 24 March, a week before his big date in the US$2million Meydan dash.

“He’s still not quite 100%, but he felt good,” said the former South African rider. “He wasn’t as quick as lightning out of the gates as he is older now. But when Johnny’s horse (Tuxedo Moon) came testing him in the back straight, he just held it together and kept bowling along in front. There is still a bit of work to be done with him but he is certainly going in the right direction.”

Extracts from Signapore Turf Club