While Racing Victoria is concerned that a possible trip to Japan for Rocket Man in October would put an end to his Patinack Farm Classic appearance the next month, the horse’s trainer remains adamant the Australian race is their first priority.
The Singapore-based champion has had the $1 million race on his radar for some time now, after Racing Victoria announced they would provide a $600,000 bonus to international runners.
This bonus has since been altered to include any horse that has won a recent leg of the international sprint series or does so by July next year.
However, Rocket Man’s owner, Fred Crabbia, left Racing Victoria worried after he announced his horse would be competing in both the Sprinter’s Stakes in Japan and the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington.
Quarantine requirements would make competing in both races impossible.
While trainer Robert Shaw’s assured that his first option would be the Patinack Farm Classic, he remains concerned about Australia’s current quarantine issues.
“I’m coming out on the fifth (of August) to have a look at the facility and also to get to the bottom of the quarantine issue,” Shaw said.
“From there I’ll make my mind up, but I’d love to be there for a clash in the Patinack. “
Shaw is also unsure about the state of the Werribee Quarantine Centre, believing the track’s surface quality may be below par.
“It would be a lovely race,” Shaw said.
“But I’ve heard they’ve had some trouble with the track.”
Shaw also said that they were experiencing some quarantine problems for the return leg of their journey to Australia.
However, Racing Victoria’s racing operations manager Paul Bloodworth believes Shaw will face no problems if Rocket Man continues on to Hong Kong for the Group 1 International Sprint like originally planned.
“In that case he can go straight to Hong Kong and quarantine there without being out of work,” Bloodworth said.
Rocket Man began pre-training in Singapore for his new campaign last week.
“I’m preparing him for a racing return at the end of August,” Shaw said.
“Ideally we’d like to have a race or two and maybe a couple of trials before heading Down Under.”
Shaw is desperate to have a chance to take on Australian super mare Black Caviar.
“In many ways, he’s an Aussie horse. So it’s something we’d be very keen to do,” he said.
“And as I’ve said all along, we’d love to have a crack at Black Caviar.”
And have a crack at Black Caviar he will.
While initial rumours were that Black Caviar was going to miss the Patinack Farm Classic, trainer Peter moody insists she will be aimed at the 1,200 metre race up the Flemington straight.
”It’s been said that we will miss the Patinack as a protest but we will be running in the most suitable races,” Moody said.
”Being a $1 million weight-for-age sprint, it is certainly that.”