Rocket and JJ throw down the challenge to Black Caviar

The only two valid challengers to Black Caviar’s title as the World’s best sprinter were both impressive winners at the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan over the weekend, but a clash between the trio appears a little while off reports Tony Bourke.

Singapore’s pin-up boy Rocket Man won the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) on the all-weather Tapeeta track, while South African cult hero JJ The Jet Plane added the Group 2 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) to his success in the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) last December.

Rocket Man, now the winner of 14 races with four seconds from just 18 starts, made amends for his second to Kinsale King in last year’s Golden Shaheen, although his task was made easier when America’s defending champion was a surprise scratching.

Excited trainer Patrick Shaw was quick to issue a challenge to Black Caviar after Rocket Man’s triumph saying “bring her on” before adding that he would not be against them having a match race.

The one proviso from the Singapore camp is that it can’t interfere with Rocket Man’s current campaign which includes his nation’s premier sprint, the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m) in May, which enters the Global Sprint Challenge for the first time in 2011.

South African trainer Michael ‘Lucky’ Houdalakis said JJ The Jet Plane would also contest the Krisflyer before going to England for leg six of the Global Sprint Challenge, the Darley July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket, in July.

“I’m not afraid of Black Caviar, but she’s got to come to us,” he said from the Meydan winner’s circle.

That means the first time that the three horses could possibly come together would be in this year’s Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) on the second Sunday in December.

JJ The Jet Plane’s record now stands at 14 wins from 25 starts and Houdalakis said it was his fault that the six-year-old ran in the Group 2 sprint on World Cup night rather than against Rocket Man in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen.

“When I brought him to Dubai he was 20kgs above his best weight and I let him get away from me so he wasn’t ready for a tough 1200 metres,” he explained.

JJ The Jet Plane was checked several times down the Meydan straight course and looked like being a ‘good thing beaten’ before storming home over the last 100 metres to score.

Third across the line was former Melbourne sprinter Common Interest, who raced under the name Better Be The One for Singapore-based Michael Freedman.

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