Often unlucky in his races, the Star Witness three-year-old this time round enjoyed a dream run in third place under champion jockey Vlad Duric in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m.
Stalking up the duelling pair of Limited Edition (Zy Nor Azman) and You Qian Zhuan (Chin Chee Seng) from the off, Rocket Star was simply unstoppable once he was stoked up for his run at the top of the straight.
Rocket Star (Vlad Duric) makes light work of his rivals in Race 8, picture Singapore Turf Club
In one fell swoop, the $7 hotpot gobbled up the two leaders before going on to smash his 11 rivals, with Duric easing down inside the last 100 yards. Chalaza grabbed second place three and three-quarter lengths away with Limited Edition hanging on for third place another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 11.79secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
Never worse than third in 10 starts, Rocket Star was bringing up his third win and more than $210,000 in stakes earnings for Filipino owner Rodolfo Mendoza.
Le Grange saluted the win as a team effort, not only for that first winner at the resumption of racing – the South African trained the last winner before the three-month break, Sweet Angeline on April 3 – but for all his horses.
“I’ve kept all my horses working during the break, it’s not that we stopped their work,” said Le Grange.
“Rocket Star has for one come back good, bigger and stronger and mentally more settled. It was a great team effort, everyone at home has done a great job to keep the horses going.
“He’s had two barrier trials and that is the way I train my horses. He needed that second trial, it’s topped him off nicely.
“Rudy is not here as he is now in the Philippines, or else he would have been here to celebrate the win. I haven’t worked out anything for Rocket Star, I will discuss with Rudy and think about what to do next.”
Le Grange had a second runner in the race, old stager Mighty Emperor (Krisna Thangamani), who after trailing the field, made stacks of ground to finish sixth, less than eight lengths off his stablemate.