The lure of a Black Caviar clash has overridden the big money on offer in Japan and Rocket Man will be on show in Melbourne during the Spring Racing Carnival.
Owner Fred Grabbia informed the VRC of his intentions with the horse to compete in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic on the famed Flemington Racecourse.
Assuming there are no issues in terms of quarantine it sets up the biggest clash of the year with the Kris Flyer International winner meeting the world’s best rated sprinter.
Rocket Man is no stranger to racing overseas and he’s already won in plenty of countries, Australia was always on the list of places to visit.
He won’t be returning to the UK for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Ascot and he may not even go to Newmarket for the July Cup.
That will leave him 100 percent focussed on the Melbourne Spring and ensure he arrives in the country in peak form.
It’s a massive boost for the VRC which announced incentives for overseas horses only a matter of weeks ago.
Prize money was lifted to $1 million and a $600,000 bonus was put up for any international horse that could take out the event which had previously won a Global Sprint Challenge race in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore or the UK.
“Over the weekend Fred Grabbia informed the club that, subject to suitable quarantine arrangements, Rocket Man would be targeting the 2011 Patinack Farm Classic,” VRC chief executive Dale Monteith said.
They are hoping he’s not the only international to make the trip as well with Ultra Fantasy, the 2010 Japan Sprinters Stakes winner, also having been extended an invitation.
It will be a similar story for the winners of three more upcoming races in the UK, the Kings Stand stakes, Golden Jubilee Stakes and July Cup all qualifying the victor for the $600,000 bonus.
The 2011 Hong Kong International Sprint winner JJ The Jet Plane is unlikely to attend as the South African horse is currently recovering from an injury.
2011 Takamatsunomiya winner Kinshasa No Kiseki will definitely not be making the trip as he has since been retired.
Ironically, an Australian bred and trained horse could well qualify for the international bonus with both Star Witness and Hinchinbrook currently travelling to England to contest at least one of the eligible races.
Overseas horse which are accepted for the Patinack Farm Classic will also qualify for travel subsidies from Racing Victoria, it’s a decision which has caused some controversy in the ranks of local trainers and owners.