Trainer Patrick Shaw is hopeful that he has Rocket Man primed to defend his title in the Group 1 US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News.
Speaking at a Press Conference at Meydan on Friday morning Shaw appeared confident that the pride of Singapore was ready to do himself justice as he seeks back to back wins in Dubai's premier sprint race on the all-weather, a feat achieved only once before by Caller One in 2001 and 2002.
“I am very happy with the horse. He is coming here off a nice win in his prep race, just as he did last year. His trip to Japan last year knocked him about, he met typhoons, his weight wasn't right, and things didn't go his way. And then in Hong Kong the draw did him no favours. But I believe he is the same horse and still as good as ever. His weight right now is good - around 476 kilos, and that's where it should be.
“I think the race might be a little tougher this year. There's Bob's (Baffert) horse (The Factor), and he was here last year (with Euroears), so knows what's needed, and there are others such as Lucky Nine, Sepoy and Krypton Factor, so it will be competitive. I think too the [all-weather] surface might be a little stickier this year compared to last year.
“So far as the draw is concerned (Rocket Man has gate 1) I think the first 100m of the race will be crucial, but I'll leave it all to Felix (Coetzee - his jockey) to decide what to do. He knows the horse and is back on board.
“So far as the future is concerned, so long as he is sound and well he'll carry on racing. The plan would be to try and win a fourth Lion City Cup back in Singapore, and then there is the Krisflyer Sprint In May.”
First of all, however, there is the not inconsiderable matter of the Dubai Golden Shaheen crown to defend on Saturday.