Rocket Tiger misses out on top honours but Spackman excited for the future

Rocket Tiger stretches out to win the TAB Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick earlier this year. Photo: Steve Hart Photographics.

Scott Spackman’s talented galloper Rocket Tiger was nominated for the NSW Racehorse Owners Association (NSWROA) Champion Country Horse for 2020/21, coming up against the likes of It’s Me (Brett Cavanough), Art Cadeau (Terry Robinson) and Handle the Truth (Keith Dryden).

At the award’s ceremony at Kembla Grange on Saturday, the Cluster gelding that is out of Takook, missed out on top honours, going down to 2020 The Kosciuszko winner and unbeaten mare, It’s Me

“To be completely honest, I was just honoured to be nominated,” Spackman said.

“I thought it was a bit disappointing to lose when you look at what he achieved.

“Yeah, the other horse (It’s Me) is four from four in its grade, but my horse won a restricted race and stepped up to the plate big time – I know what horse I’d want in my stable and I’ve got him.”

Unfortunately, racing fans won’t get to see the Group 2 and Group 3 placegetter until early next year, after a paddock mishap derailed Spackman’s plans with his now three-year-old. 

“He will be out until January, he will go and get a month’s work and we will make sure everything is spot on with him and the injury,” Spackman said.

“It was only a minute injury; he injured his shoulder and just went over the fence. It was little hairline fracture, but it was enough to pull up stumps and we are lucky we found it when we did. 

“He will do his rehab and all that sort of stuff and get checked out before we put pressure on him.”

As far as major plans for Rocket Tiger, Spackman wasn’t giving too much away just yet.

“I haven’t sat down and made a plan as such, but we will look to run him around Golden Slipper time or something and find a race that suits him,” Spackman said. 

“It could be in Melbourne or Sydney – I don’t know yet.” 

Although the stable hasn’t started a horse in the 2021/22 season, Spackman and his team have been very busy of late, with a plethora of two-year-olds getting closer and closer to barrier trials and potential races.

“We have eight in work right now and out of those we have four two-year-olds, but we have nine two-year-olds on the books,” Spackman said. 

“Two will go to the paddock shortly and the other two in work, we will go on with and trial them at this stage. 

“Then we have another two to come back in. Basically, we will just keeping rotating them with our little system we have and when one pops up and looks ready for a trial or race, we will go that way.”

Spackman was excited to see the sister of Rocket Tiger, Takookacod and Takissacod progressing nicely too, with his two-year-old filly, known affectionally as Antonina, looking the goods early on.

“We have Rocket Tiger’s little sister in work, and she is a nice, muscly thing,” Spackman said. 

“Rocket Tiger speaks for himself, Takookacod could have been anything early on and Takissacod is a good mare. I can’t fault any of them and I can’t fault this filly.”

Spackman, who always manages to have a handy galloper or two in the stable, admitted he was moving away from buying tried horses, and now focusing on developing young stock, which has already paid dividends.

“That’s what I used to do; I would buy tried horses, and don’t get me wrong, two of my better horses were hand me downs, ones like Romancing to Win and Sparkling to Win,” Spackman said.

“We had to work out how to make them happy again and keep them sound, but now, we are buying some nice yearlings and we worked our arses off during winter and some of these horses are on their fourth campaign.

“It sounds funny, but we only give them short and sharp campaigns, then put them away for a month and bring them back in again and eventually work them up to a barrier trial and see how they go.”

With Spackman still a while away from starting any of his youngsters, local racing fans are no doubt excited to see what the stable can produce with the spring and summer seasons fast approaching.