Rocket Star blasts off
Le Grange's runner scores impressive trial win
Until racing went into lockdown mode in early April, Rocket Star was being mentioned as a future Kranji champion.
From Ricardo Le Grange's yard, he had caught the eye with a string of fine showings.
Indeed, his only three outings this term produced a win and two second-place finishes.
In all, he has had nine starts for two victories, six seconds and a third.
Then came the break and all was quiet on the northern front.
Until yesterday, it appears.
After all, that was when the handsome chestnut lived up to that "Star" in his name when he took the fifth of 10 trials run at Kranji yesterday afternoon.
Partnered by Vlad Duric, you could say it was a performance "par excellence". Jumping from the outermost gate, Duric kept him on a tight hold, seemingly content to stay away from the speed battle up-front.
Out in front, Red Dawn (Matthew Kellady) and Bluestone (Ruan Maia) dictated things. At the 300m mark, Red Dawn looked like he had sewn things up nicely. He was two lengths clear of Bluestone and travelling sweetly.
But he soon shortened strides and, 150m from home, Red Dawn was "walking". He had run his race and Duric urged a response from Rocket Star.
The three-year-old responded. In a flash, he had put the trial to bed. On Line, ridden by Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, came with a terrific burst to claim second spot from Bluestone.
But it was all about the winner. In no uncertain terms, he had cemented his reputation.
Rocket Star has been entered for Saturday's races. His connections have him down to contest the Class 4 Division 2 sprint over the 1,200m. It's a nice fit. Let's see how it all pans out.
Earlier in the afternoon, trainer Michael Clements pulled one from out of the hat, when he saddled Vittoria Perfetta to take the fourth trial.
Again, it was Duric in the saddle. Jumping from Gate 2, the son of Zoustar was neatly into stride and he watched and waited as Special King and Legend Of The Sun went hell for leather in front.
Indeed, passing the 600m mark and yet to straighten for the run home, Vittoria Perfetta was at least five lengths adrift of the front pair.
It was only at the 250m mark that he made his move. Gradually gaining on the leaders, Duric had timed his run to perfection.
It was a barnstorming run and it carried him to the front. Legend Of The Sun had no answer and had to settle for second spot, more than a length adrift.
What he showed us at the trials does suggest he's gearing up for another hurrah.