Dance for us, Rocket Man
Singapore's equine legend will get a fitting farewell parade at Kranji on Sunday
If ever an animal deserves a parade, it is ROCKET MAN.
So drum roll, please. Because, come Sunday, it's going to be Rocket Man Day at the Kranji racecourse when we say thank you and a happy retirement in South Africa to a true champion.
Okay, it won't be a teary affair. That's for more sober stuff. What's planned for Sunday is a farewell party - complete with juicy carrots - for the greatest racehorse ever to grace our shores.
Like when Joseph Schooling won that Olympic gold medal some months ago, Rocket Man did the same for Singapore.
He put us on the world racing map.
So, some will say: "He's only a horse." Yes. But that win at the 2011 Golden Shaheen in Dubai, an international Group 1 race, didn't come cheaply.
Rocket Man is the best horse I have ever had the pleasure and the honour of training. When it comes to temperament, ability and that zest to win, Rocket Man has no equal. He’s everything a trainer can dream of having in his yard. Trainer Patrick Shaw, on Rocket Man
Like Schooling did in Rio, he had to beat the best - which he did.
I remember interviewing Rocket Man's trainer, Patrick Shaw after that victory. I had always held that man in awe. He, with the poise of a president. Yet, there he was, glowing and gushing like a proud parent.
Come to think of it, I shouldn't have expected anything less.
What Rocket Man did in Dubai and in a racing career which spanned just four years from 2008 is the stuff of legends.
He won all there was to win - 20 races from 27 starts and collected almost $7 million in stake money, a Singapore record. And, if not floored by injury, he would have wanted more.
Indeed, to see him was to love him.
On raceday, the Rocket Man show began long before the starting gates flew opened. He was a star and, it looked like he knew it.
So, we used to see that little dance of his whenever the cheers from the grandstand reached those twitching years. He was all strut and style and, oh, how we lapped it up.
If he had just two legs, like us mere mortals, he would be like John Travolta swinging that can of paint in that epic scene from the movie Saturday Night Fever. You saw those moves and you remembered it forever.
He gave the sport, theatre.
So, come Sunday when, after the sixth race, he will be trotted out to a place he knows all too well - the winner's enclosure - be sure to raise a mighty cheer. Watch for that dance and the spring in his steps.
Because that's the last you will get to see of a horse whose feats will, surely, stand the test of time.