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Rocket Man’s trainer sees red over Black Caviar hype
The trainer of one of the world’s top sprinters has fired a “hold your horses” shot at those who rate Black Caviar as the world’s standout sprinter.
Despite Black Caviar’s sensational second Group 1 win in the opening leg of the Global Sprint Challenge – in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday, after winning one of last year’s legs, the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington in November at her previous start – Singapore-based South African Patrick Shaw said he would love to see his champion sprinter Rocket Man race the Australian mare.
Shaw told Craig Brennan of www.turfclub.com.sg, the Singapore Turf Club’s official site, that he found it hard to believe that Black Caviar could be rated as the world’s best sprinter without racing outside Australia.
“Maybe if I had stayed in Singapore with Rocket Man and not raced overseas, I’d have the best horse in the world,” said an incredulous Shaw.
“I think it is quite a statement to say that she is the best when she hasn’t raced outside of Australia. Until she has taken on those horses like J J The Jetplane and Sacred Kingdom, how can anyone say she is the best?
“Sacred Kingdom is still one of the best sprinters around and has proven it over a long period of time.”
The World Thoroughbred Rankings, compiled by the chief handicappers in the major racing jurisdictions, have Black Caviar ranked No. 1 on 123 ahead of J J The Jet Plane on 122. Rocket Man, Sacred Kingdom and Starspangledbanner are on 121 and Hay List, second to Black Caviar on Saturday, rounds out the top half-dozen on 120.
And Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter indicated after Black Caviar’s Lightning win that her mark would be lifted even more.
Shaw told Brennan, a Victorian who has worked in Singapore for three years, that he was impressed with what he saw of Black Caviar on TV, but he would be happy to take her on anywhere in the world.
“She is a top filly, but mine is a top gelding,” he said. “If the money is there then I would love to be taking her on, but it must be worthwhile for the both of us.”
Shaw said he would be happy to travel to Australia to take on Black Caviar in this year’s $500,000 Patinack Farm Classic – there’s a challenge to Racing Victoria if ever there was one! – but first Rocket Man has other international targets: to make up for three seconds … to American Kinsale King in last year’s $2 million Golden Shaheen, the race on again on the artificial Tapeta surface in Dubai next month; and to Hong Kong sprinters Sacred Kingdom and Green Birdie in the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m) on the turf at Kranji in the past two Mays. The $1 million KrisFlyer, on May 22 this year, is a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge for the first time.
Perhaps getting in the way of a trip to Australia for Rocket Man is Japan’s $3 million Group 1 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) in early October, so the question is: will Shaw take up the general challenge of Caulfield trainer Peter Moody to overseas connections to bring their horses to Melbourne if they want to race against Black Caviar?
THE SPRINTERS, THEIR RECORDS
Black Caviar (br m 4, Bel Esprit-Helsinge, by Desert Sun (GB)) Has raced nine times for nine wins, with two Group 1s. Has earned $1.69m. Rating 123.
Rocket Man (b g 5, Viscount-Macrosa (NZ), by McGinty (NZ)) Has raced 16 times for 12 wins and four seconds – by a combined total of 1.2 lengths and all at International Group 1 level. The latest was when beaten a head by J J The Jet Plane, with Sacred Kingdom third, in the Cathay Pacific International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December. Has earned $S1.62m ($1.25m). Rating 121.
Sacred Kingdom (b g 7, Encosta De Lago-Courtroom Sweetie, by Zeditave) Has raced 28 times for 17 wins, with seven Group 1s. Has earned $HK43.92m ($5.57m). Rating 121.
J J The Jet Plane (b g 6, Jet Master (SAF)-Majestic Guest (SAF), by Northern Guest (USA) Has raced 24 times for 12 wins, with seven Group 1s. Has earned £1.01m ($1.62m). Rating 122.
PHOTO: Rocket Man (Barend Vorster) winning at Kranji in Singapore. (courtesy of Singapore Turf Club).