Trainer George Scott believes Rocket Rodney’s defeat at Royal Ascot “made a man of him” after watching the talented juvenile deliver a stylish victory in the Listed Coral Dragon Stakes at Sandown Park today.
Having seen his number of winners appear to plateau in recent seasons the Newmarket based handler admitted he has emerged from a “tough period” and is now enjoying a solid campaign.
Rocket Rodney raced prominently throughout the five-furlong dash and the Evens Favourite soon quickened away once sent on by Daniel Muscutt before passing the post two and a half lengths clear of Cuban Mistress.
The son of Dandy Man was gaining compensation for his defeat in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in the Listed prize and 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. To go and bump into Aiden’s horse (Little Big Bear) was obviously frustrating but he got beaten by the better horse on the day.
“Ascot made a man of him. Sometimes when they go through that maiden novice system even though they are nice horses they don’t learn that much. He came back from Ascot a different horse and that has reflected in his run today.
“I think at Royal Ascot winning is everything but if you have got 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’ve ever trained. He will walk on to the canter in the morning.
“He doesn’t do too much unless he is really asked so a strong pace and something to shoot at in the last furlong and a half will suit him better. He had to do a lot of the donkey work today but he finished off his race really well. He put the race to bed quickly. It was a really pleasing performance.”
Reflecting on his stable’s results, Scott added: “It has been a pretty tough period professionally and at home. I’ve been able to really reset and focus over the winter and that is our 19th winner. We’ve got a great team and my assistant Alex helps keep the show on the road.
“People like Sheikh Nassar come in and showing belief in buying this horse and keep him in training with me. He was straight on the phone with such enthusiasm. I’m loving it. These days make it really worthwhile.
“I think every trainer needs a horse to put them in the headlights but I think it is important that we have gone out winning day to day races. That is what we have concentrated on doing this year. I’ve just tried to rebuild my career and we are having a great season.”
A return trip to Goodwood is now on the cards for Rocket Rodney with Scott earmarking the Group Three Molecomb Stakes as his next target ahead of a potential end of season trip to the Breeders’ Cup.
He added: “Of course he will go to the Molcomb providing he is in good order. He has always shown a liking to the track and he nearly broke the track record on his second start there. We will look forward to Goodwood and make plans from thereon.
“That was a bit of a trial for him (for the Breeders’ Cup). As Dandy Man is not a nominated stallion we had to pay something like £20,000 to get him in the Breeders’ Cup and I said if he won like that today he would be nominated for the new five furlong race on the undercard.”