Popular grey Roy Rocket returns to Brighton aiming for tenth course strike
Holcombe Handicap | 1m4f, 4yo+ | ATR
Brighton cult hero Roy Rocket will make his final visit of the year to his favourite track on Sunday, bidding for a perfect ten at the seaside circuit.
Trained by John Berry, Roy Rocket has won nine times from 23 starts at Brighton and his love affair with the south coast has been arguably the most heartwarming story of the Flat season.
Now rated 70 after three wins this term – no prizes for guessing where – the son of Layman warmed up for his latest out by finishing fourth at Epsom on Monday.
"That was a good run against decent horses and the ground was softer than he likes, so under the circumstances, it was as good as he could have run," said Berry.
"With a different horse we might not have run at Epsom. This is his last chance to run at Brighton because the remaining middle-distance races are for lower-rated horses, so this has been the definite plan and inked in for a while.
"He backs up well, so we could run at Epsom."
Roy Rocket contests the Holcombe Handicap (4.30), which is staged over 1m4f and with the prospect of good ground, Berry described race conditions as perfect.
However, another emerging horse for the course could threaten the party.
The Newmarket trainer added: "It doesn't look a particularly strong race, but William Knight's horse Archimento looks like he might be on his way to becoming a Brighton specialist too. He's a nice horse who goes well round there and might be a bit better handicapped than we are."
Berry, who co-owns the popular grey with Iris McCarthy and her daughter Larry, could give his stable stalwart a break after Sunday before an autumn all-weather campaign.
He has also been touched by the national coverage Roy Rocket has received.
"Roy gives us huge pleasure and it's lovely his profile is being enjoyed by a wider audience and that he's become so popular," said Berry. "It's very moving."
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