Rocket Man (Barend Vorster) is right on target for his Dubai mission at Meydan on March 26
Champion sprinter Rocket Man showed his is right on target for his trip to Dubai with his victory in the $125,000 RDA Cup over 1200m on the Polytrack at Kranji.
Ridden by Barend Vorster, Rocket Man, sent to the post as the $5.30 favourite for a $5 investment, scored a commanding five-and-three-quarter length victory over the evergreen Capablanca (John Powell) with Noble Manor (Joao Moreira) two lengths away third.
Rocket Man was a little slow to jump but quickly mustered speed to settle down in second spot behind stablemate Dr Lemon (Robbie Fradd) to his outside with Ntini (Shafiq Rusof) out three wide in third place.
Vorster had Rocket Man travelling sweetly before releasing the breaks on turning for home where he quickly put the issue beyond doubt.
Allowed to cruise home over the concluding stages, Rocket Man stopped the clock at 1 min 10.70 secs.
Trainer Patrick Shaw said it was now all systems go for the gelding’s trip to Dubai for the US$2 million Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over 1200m at Meydan on March 26 and exact revenge on his defeat in the race 12 months earlier.
Of importance to Shaw was the way Rocket Man settled when Dr Lemon led him in the early stages of the race.
“I said to Barend if the circumstances permit to try and tuck in behind Dr Lemon early in the race and then let him open up once into the straight,” said Shaw.
“It was important to try and get him to settle. He did it beautifully and we know he is spot on now looking forward to Dubai.”
Shaw said he would continue to monitor Rocket Man’s condition in the days leading up to his departure for Dubai on March 19.
“We’ll get him x-rayed, as we always do, before he goes. With horses like him you just hope they come back sound.”
Vorster for his part said Rocket Man was spot on for the trip and was “touching wood” that he can turn around the disappointment of last year’s defeat.
“He just felt superb in himself today,” said Vorster.
“I had goosebumps when I got on him as he was bouncing around out in the back yard, but he eventually switched off and was nice and relaxed.”
Vorster said he had no concerns during the contest and just let the champion work his way through the race under his own accord.
“They went quite quickly in the early part and I just let him go through his paces,” said Vorster.
“From the 600m he just picked it up himself and worked his way through.
“In the straight it was important to give him a good hitout and keep his mind on what he was doing, not have him twitching his ears and having a look around.
“Everything is 100% with him. His weight is spot on so all we can do now is touch wood and keep our fingers crossed.”
The five-year-old son of Viscount from the Mr McGinty mare Macrosa is unbeaten in 12 starts on the domestic scene in Singapore with his only defeats coming in four International Group 1 events by a combined total of 1.2 lengths.
Landing his 13th career victory (which includes a dead-heat win with One World in Hong Kong last year) from 17 starts, Rocket Man topped the $3 million mark in prizemoney for owner Fred Crabbia.