Tag Archive for: Rocket Rodney

Rocket Rodney set for French assignment in Breeders’ Cup build-up

George Scott is leaving no stone unturned with Rocket Rodney as all roads lead to a trip to Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup in November.

The speedy son of Dandy Man has acquitted himself well in his career to date, already a runner-up in a hot renewal of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and a Listed winner in Sandown’s Dragon Stakes.

Those two high-class performances saw the youngster sent off as the evens favourite for the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood, where Rocket Rodney again advertised his smooth-travelling nature and blistering pace before being mugged in the closing stages by the unexposed filly of Richard Hannon, Trillium.

Scott is now working towards Rocket Rodney’s end-of-season target at the Breeders’ Cup and sees a trip to the French capital for the Prix d’Arenburg at ParisLongchamp on September 1 as the ideal place to record both his third victory of the season and get his stable star acclimatised to travelling oversees.

“He’s come out of the race at Goodwood well,” said Scott. “With a month or so until his next anticipated start I’ve been able to give him a quiet week.

“I’m keen to get his head back in front and the Group Three Prix d’Arenburg could be the ideal place.

“My plan is very much to focus on the Breeders’ Cup in November, so getting him travelling certainly won’t do him any harm ahead of going to America.

“He’s rock-solid mentally, but the experience of getting him on the box and on the ferry to Paris can only benefit if we’re thinking of going to Keeneland later in the year.

“I think he’s a horse that is going to be best held up as well. At Goodwood he travelled nicely into the race and was there to be shot at by Richard Hannon’s filly, but at the same time we were beaten fair and square on the day.

“It’s still early days with these horses and I’m learning about Rocket Rodney all the time. I’m confident he’s a top-class horse and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead of him.”

Loughnane confident Walbank can make Molecomb mark

It could be a big afternoon for David Loughnane and Amo Racing at Goodwood on Wednesday as their high-class two-year-old Walbank looks to enhance his lofty reputation in the Markel Molecomb Stakes.

Second on debut behind the talented Noble Style, the expensive 525,000 guineas breeze-ups buy showed his worth when lighting up the Knavesmire with a facile seven-length victory on his second start, a performance that saw the son of Kodiac sent off the 7-4 favourite for the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, he had to settle for a silver medal in a contentious running of that five-furlong Group Two – a result that is still subject to an appeal.

Now he has the chance to put his blistering speed to the test once more as he joins a fleet-footed cast that have assembled for this Group Three event.

“It is going to be hard not to fancy him,” said Loughnane. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s got a very good record so far. He’s 2-1-2 from three starts and the form of all his races has worked out nicely.

“Rocket Rodney is the favourite and is clearly going there in good form following an impressive win in the Dragon Stakes, but we’re going there with a live chance.”

As identified by Loughnane, it could be Rocket Rodney that the other seven runners have to beat, with the form of his most recent outings looking rock solid.

Second behind subsequent Group-level scorer Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle, he then accounted for the reopposing Eddie’s Boy (third) in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown, with Archie Watson’s charge franking the form when bolting up in Newbury’s Super Sprint.

Rocket Rodney winning Sandown
Rocket Rodney winning at Sandown (Nigel French/PA)

Already a track-and-trip victor this season, trainer George Scott is confident of a bold showing and said: “We thought Rocket Rodney would show up well at Royal Ascot because he posted some good numbers before then, although I was surprised to see him so competitive.

“Little Big Bear was a pretty comfortable winner and has since taken a big step forward, but so has our horse.

“It will be a big help that he has already been to Goodwood, and he handled it great that day.

“We do a lot of data work with things like heart-rate monitors and cadence. It is very helpful to see how he is progressing between runs because you can compare the data from his work. I am as confident as I can be that he is still improving.

“It is really nice to be sat here talking about a good horse again. It has been a while between drinks for us and James Garfield is a bit of a distant memory now. He was a very good two-year-old, but this horse looks faster than him.”

Richard Hannon and Michael O’Callaghan have taken home the prize in the last two runnings of this contest and are represented by last-time winners Trillium and Studio City respectively.

The eight-strong line-up is completed by a trio of northern raiders – Kevin Ryan’s Thunder Moon, the Kark Burke-trained Looking For Lynda and Dickieburd from Craig Lidster’s yard.

The latter broke his duck with a dominant all-the-way display at Chester earlier this month and the Cracksman colt, who is now part-owned by Nick Bradley Racing, is a first runner at Group level for one of the newest names to the training ranks.

“He won well at Chester and this is a big step up,” said Lidster.

“It’s a bit of an unknown, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. Nick Bradley has come on board with the colt and it’s an exciting time for us all.

“He has plenty of speed, but it is going to be a speed contest by the looks of it. I don’t think we’ll get our own way out in front, it could be fast and furious so we might have to have plan A,B,C,D,E and F.”

Rocket Rodney powers to Dragon Stakes victory

Newmarket handler George Scott has a slew of options for talented sprinter Rocket Rodney – including a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup – after the Shaikh Nassar-owned colt powered to victory in the Coral Dragon Stakes at Sandown.

The son of Dandy Man, who was an excellent second to Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot, was sent off the even-money favourite for the five-furlong Listed event.

Rocket Rodney tracked main market rival Eddie’s Boy, but Daniel Muscutt barely moved a muscle as he drew upsides a furlong and a half out and strode clear to beat the staying-on Cuban Mistress by two and a half lengths.

Scott will now head to Goodwood for the Molcomb and is also eyeing the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland in November, with potentially a run in the Gimcrack at York in between.

Scott said: “He is a horse that has shown plenty at home from day one. We went to Royal Ascot thinking we had a chance of running a big race, but to go and bump into Aidan’s (O’Brien) horse, it was obviously frustrating and he got beat by a better horse on the day.

“I felt like Ascot made a man of him. He came back a different persona and it reflected in his run today.

“At Royal Ascot winning is everything, but if you have a young horse to look forward to, you can walk away excited as well. I think he will be a better horse with something to aim at. He is one of the most laid-back horses I have ever trained. He doesn’t do too much until he’s asked.

“He will go to the Molcomb provided he is in good order. He has already shown a liking for the track and nearly broke the track record on his second start.”

On the possibility of a trip to Keeneland, Scott added: “That was a bit of a trial for him. Dandy Man is not a nominated stallion so we had to pay 20 grand to get him in the Breeders’ Cup and I said that if he won like that today, he would be nominated for the new race – the five-furlong race on the undercard.

“We might try something like a Gimcrack – a flat six (furlongs), I might put him in the Gimcrack.

“Everyone is keen to push distances, but this is a fast horse and we will try to keep him as a fast horse for as long as possible. It is just that the five-furlong programme dries up ever so slightly.”

Rocket Rodney ready to roar in Dragon Stakes

George Scott is looking to keep his Windsor Castle Stakes second Rocket Rodney busy over the next few months and already has his next two runs pencilled in the diary, starting with an appearance in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown on Friday.

The Dandy Man youngster was beaten only a neck by Aidan O’Brien’s 6-5 favourite Little Big Bear at Royal Ascot and Scott believes pushing a horse the calibre of the winner all the way is a good indication there is plenty more to come from the 18,000 guineas buy.

“We were thrilled with his run, but in the same breath disappointed to finish second,” said Scott.

“We were probably just unlucky to bump into what probably is Aidan’s best five-furlong colt, but he ran a blinder and like a lot of these unexposed, lightly raced two-year-olds, he probably got a bit lonely when he found himself out in front. But we bumped into a good winner who was the best horse in the race on the day for sure.”

Rocket Rodney will remain at Listed level for his upcoming assignment at Sandown, but could move on to Group company after that, with the Molecomb Stakes during the Qipco Glorious Goodwood Festival on the agenda.

“You would expect having run so well in a Windsor Castle you would be able to flick over to a Dragon Stakes and be favourite and go and win it, but it is going to take plenty of winning, it’s a really competitive race. I’m really looking forward to the race and really pleased with Rocket Rodney,” said Scott.

“He’s come out of Ascot really well and I think that race really made a man of him. I’ve been really pleased with him since and I’m keen to run him in the Dragon Stakes very much as a stepping stone to the Molecomb at Goodwood.”

The youngster opened his account with an impressive display on the Sussex Downs in April and the Newmarket-based handler is relishing the prospect of returning to the course with a more experienced operator.

He continued: “The Molecomb is a very obvious race for him in the sense that he handled Goodwood really well – he almost broke the track record there on his second start.

“If he was a horse that kind of needed freshening up between races then I would skip the Dragon Stakes, but he loves racing and training and I think he needs a run between now and Goodwood.

“His mind is just bombproof, he is probably the quietest horse in the yard and for a young sprinter, that is a huge asset. He almost fell asleep down at the start of the Windsor Castle and I’m hoping that is going to be a massive asset for him moving forward.”