Rocket Rodney shoots for glory in Westow Stakes

By Sports Desk May 17, 2023

There could be plenty of pace on show in York’s British EBF 40th Anniversary Westow Stakes where Rocket Rodney attempts to return to winning ways on reappearance.

Trained by George Scott, the speedy son of Dandy Man was an ultra-consistent performer last term, with the only blot on his copybook coming in his final outing of the year when making a raiding mission to France.

A Listed winner in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown last season, he also placed in a whole host of high-class five-furlong events, including when beaten a neck by Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot and runner-up in the Group Three Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.

Scott reports his charge to have strengthened up from two to three and is eager to see if he retains all the sprinting attributes which made him so successful as a juvenile.

“He was a very capable two-year-old throughout last year and his final run didn’t reflect his season in any way, so we have got to put a line through that,” he said.

“I’ve been pleased with his work in the spring. He’s done very well physically from two to three, he hasn’t grown a huge amount but he’s definitely matured.

“I think there’s always a question mark over precocious two-year-olds that have had a relatively busy season as to how they train on, and you don’t know until they get to the track. But he’s ready to get started and I have a plan for him this season, and this is very much day one.

“It’s a track he has run well at and it looks a very sensible starting point for him. I would expect him to come on for the run, but he’s more than ready to do himself justice.”

David Loughnane’s Walbank was a place behind Rocket Rodney in third when the pair locked horns in the Molecomb last July, with the talented son of Kodiac finishing no worse than third in four outings during 2022 – a CV which also includes a silver medal in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

His Goodwood outing was the final time he was sighted at two and the Amo Racing-owned colt returns following 295 days off the track at the scene of arguably his finest hour, on the course and distance over which he shed his maiden tag in fine style.

“He was a very good two-year-old,” said Loughnane. “He had a slight setback which took a bit of time and we’ve given him every chance. He’s come back a bigger horse and I’m pleased with him.

“He’s in good order and wears a tongue-tie first time, and obviously he’s going back to where he won his maiden and hopefully we get a similar result.

“He was just outside the time of the last five Nunthorpe winners – he was very impressive that day and the track definitely suits him. He’s a nice horse and one to look forward to.”

Kevin Ryan’s Silent Words went down by a head to the well-regarded Tajalla at Musselburgh earlier this month and is one of two for owners Clipper Logistics, alongside Karl Burke’s Pillow Talk, who won the Marygate Stakes over track and trip at this meeting 12 months ago.

Burke trained the one-two in this last year and is also represented by Looking For Lynda, with Richard Fahey’s hat-trick-seeking Great State and Declan Carroll’s unbeaten Changeofmind adding to the Yorkshire-trained challenge.

Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien will bid to land a blow for Ireland with Hispanic. The son of No Nay Never won only one of his four starts last term, but showed plenty of class when doing so, romping to an eight-length victory at the Curragh.

“I haven’t sat on him in a race, but he stepped up well when fitted with blinkers at the back-end, winning by a wide margin at the Curragh and running OK in Listed company at Doncaster,” jockey Ryan Moore told Betfair.

“Hopefully he can progress this season and be suited by the better ground he will encounter here. He likes to get on with it and he can go a bit judged on his Curragh win.”

Rogue Spirit (Tom Clover), Katey Kontent (Clive Cox) and Michaela’s Boy (Mick Appleby) are the others engaged in the five-furlong contest.

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