Smart Missile’s barrage of 16 winners, including two stakeswinners, in the past six weeks do more than keep him in the tight race for the Australian Second Season Sires’ title.
They also confirm his growing value as a sire of smart juveniles, like impressive Group winners Debellatio & I’ll Have A Bit, as well as performers that relish distances beyond 1400 metres.
The latest example is 3YO Rocketeer who made winning over 2000 metres at Sha Tin look easy when he scored by 2.5 lengths in the Class 2 Hong Kong Young Indstrialists Council Silver Jubilee Cup for the Hung family and champion trainer John Moore.
“It’s a change of luck for the Hung family, and they have another Derby prospect to look forward to next season,” said Moore. “This horse was my first Derby purchase for next season, we bought him after he ran in the Victoria Derby last November. He wasn’t my first choice, I was chasing Inference who went on to win the Randwick Guineas, but like many of them he wasn’t for sale. This horse was, and he always looked like he’d be better with six months under his belt, he was on the leg.”
Rocketeer had finished near the tail in his first two runs over a mile, but the switch to Happy Valley and the step up to 1800m last start saw him show a glimmer of form when sixth to Packing Dragon.
“I’ve been bringing him along very slowly, letting him find his legs and acclimatise,” Moore said. “He started to show a bit of form last start at Happy Valley, he was getting to the line and that told me that he was not far off. I didn’t do much with him going into this as he was a fit horse after the last race. He was focused, he was ready and he just outstayed them. From my point of view, though, he’s done what we wanted this season, to win one race at least. Now he can progress on to next season as one of our Derby contenders.”