Singaporean flyer Rocket Man can confirm his arrival at top level by lowering the boom on the global traveller Takeover Target and Hong Kong's two international stars in a crackerjack renewal of the KrisFlyer Sprint at Kranji racecourse tonight.
Rocket Man is unbeaten from seven starts and has raced his way through the grades from maiden to domestic Group One level.
Cynics offer the same old question - what has he beaten? But seeing should be believing and we say the quality of this exciting three-year-old, who has twice beaten Takeover Target's course record for 1,200m, should be accepted at face value.
First, he is a magnificent individual with a superb, fluent stride. Second, he has strong pedigree qualifications, with his sire, Viscount, being a legitimate Group One performer and his dam, Macrosa, having already produced a Group One winner in South Africa.
Third, Rocket Man has lashings of the 'golden quality' of the thoroughbred - acceleration. It's the attribute that makes good horses great, and Rocket Man has it the same way Sacred Kingdom had it in 2007 when he was the world's number one sprinter.
Big call? Perhaps. But any experienced analyst looking at Rocket Man's demolition of the best-available Singapore sprinters at weight-for-age in the Lion City Cup (1,200m) last start should not be able to avoid the same conclusion.
Waikato (Saimee Jumaat) attacked Rocket Man from the outside, with trainer Laurie Laxon determined to not die wondering what might happen to the rising star if pressured for the lead. Laxon got an answer, but not the one he was hoping for. It was Waikato, who busted as Fradd allowed Rocket Man to slip away at the top of the straight and put the race beyond reach in a veritable heartbeat.
The spectacular part of the race was Rocket Man's final half furlong. Fradd began taking hold 75m out and he floated over the line with an untold amount of energy still in the batteries, saved up for today.
To break the former course record with such contemptuous ease surely confirms Rocket Man's enormous raw talent. The only thing that's not yet been measured is his fighting spirit, because nothing has been good enough to get him into a head-to-head battle.
Takeover Target can. He's been around the world, he has triumphed at the highest level in Australia, England, Japan and in this very race last year.
The nine-year-old should follow South African speed machine Mythical Flight and present himself at the appropriate time.
Hong Kong's best chance is Sacred Kingdom, a last-start winner of the Sprint Cup on May 1 under an aggressive Brett Prebble ride.
He has emerged from a lapse of form following injury but, although he's now on an upward plane, it's doubtful that he will sparkle the way he did in becoming a world dominator in the 2007-08 season.
Hong Kong Sprint hero Inspiration has had a torrid week. He lost over 40 pounds on body weight and had to be administered electrolytes to get the fluid back into his body.
Although the John Moore charge has improved, he finds himself in a terrible position from gate 12. Darren Beadman's only option looks to be going back and riding for luck, which is not ideal on this speed-oriented course.
Wins former Hong Kong champion Robbie Fradd has enjoyed on Rocket Man, who has yet to lose a race: 6