Rocket Man has been scratched from the G1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on October 3. Trainer Patrick Shaw has decided to pull the pin on the trip after concerns the champion sprinter would lose too much weight travelling to Japan.
Shaw said missing the chance to turn the tables on Hong Kong sprinter Green Birdie was a big blow for both himself and owner Fred Crabbia. The Singapore star was beaten by Green Birdie in the G1 KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji in May. “We were really looking forward to the trip and hoping Rocket Man would be able to get his Group 1 win on international soil,” said Shaw. “But at the end of the day, I have to think of him first and foremost.”
Rocket Man (Viscount) was last seen winning the G3 Woodlands Hcp on September 5. He weighed in at 473kg after that victory. “He could lose anything up to 15kg on a long flight,” Shaw explained. “I just don’t think there would be enough time to get the weight back on him, especially in a new environment at the Quarantine Station in Japan.
“He has not put on any weight despite finishing all his feed and having only light work since the Woodlands Handicap. I don’t think the horse would be 100% fit and it would not be fair on all concerned if that was the case.”
Rocket Man travelled to Dubai earlier this year with a body weight of 483kg and subsequently ran in the G1 Golden Shaheen over 1200m at his ideal weight of 473kg.
Green Birdie (Catbird) looms as the horse to beat in the Sprinters Stakes after finishing second in the G2 Centaur Stakes at Hanshin last Sunday.
Rocket Man will contest the G3 Garden City Trophy at Kranji on October 15 before heading to Hong Kong for the Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Sprint on November 21. He will remain in Hong Kong for the International Sprint on December 12.