Rocket Star in the making
Ricardo Le Grange-trained rising talent should go far, from the way he explodes to an easy victory
Rising talent Rocket Star was the pick of most racing pundits on Saturday, with many making him their best bet - and he delivered with aplomb.
The Ricardo Le Grange-trained three-year-old chestnut galloper came back firing on all cylinders on his return to racing, on the day Singapore racing resumed after a three-month suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The authority of his victory as he smashed his opponents to smithereens clearly suggests he is a top horse in the making.
Often unlucky in his races, the Australian-bred gelding by Star Witness enjoyed a dream run this time round, under champion jockey Vlad Duric, in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over the Polytrack 1,200m.
Stalking up the duelling pair of Limited Edition (apprentice jockey N Zyrul) and You Qian Zhuan (jockey CS Chin) from the off, Rocket Star was simply unstoppable once he was stoked up for his run at the top of the straight.
In one fell swoop, the $7 hotshot gobbled up the two leaders before going on to smash his 11 rivals. Duric was already easing down inside the last 100m.
Chalaza grabbed second place, 3¾ lengths away.
Limited Edition hung on for third, 1½ lengths further back.
The winning time was 1min 11.79sec.
Never worse than third in 10 starts, Rocket Star has won three times.
He amassed more than $210,000 in stakes earnings for Filipino owner Rodolfo Mendoza.
Le Grange saluted the win as a team effort, not only for that first winner at the resumption of racing but for all his horses.
"I've kept all my horses working during the break, it's not that we stopped their work," said Le Grange, who trained the last winner before the three-month break, Sweet Angeline, on April 3.
"Rocket Star has, for one, come back good, bigger and stronger and mentally more settled. It was a great team effort, everyone at home has done a great job to keep the horses going.
"He's had two barrier trials and that is the way I train my horses. He needed that second trial, it's topped him off nicely.
"Rudy is not here, as he is now in the Philippines, or else he would have been here to celebrate the win.
"I haven't worked out anything for Rocket Star. I will discuss with Rudy and think about what to do next."
Le Grange had a second runner in the race, veteran Mighty Emperor (apprentice jockey T Krisna), who after trailing the field, made stacks of ground to finish sixth, less than eight lengths off his stablemate.