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Rocket Commander will run in Saturday's Victoria Handicap

Rocket Commander will step outside mares grade in the Group Three Victoria Handicap at Caulfield as she continues on a path towards a homecoming in South Australia.

Five-year-old Rocket Commander joined Canberra trainer Matt Dale’s stable last year and, in eight starts since in Victoria and NSW, has netted a Group Three win in the Wenona Girl Quality in Sydney in March along with two Group Three seconds in Melbourne last spring.

She heads back to Melbourne for Saturday’s Victoria Handicap (1400m) with a view to a start in the Group Two Queen Of The South Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares in Adelaide three weeks later.

Before joining Dale’s team, Rocket Commander was trained by Wayne Francis and Glen Kent in South Australia and finished a close third in last year’s Queen Of The South.

“She was bought last year out of Adelaide with the prospect of getting some black type against her name in New South Wales and Victoria,” Dale said.

“She had only raced in Adelaide previously so in the spring we took her to Melbourne and she placed twice over the spring carnival in Group Three races and this preparation we’ve been able to win a Group Three with her over the Sydney carnival.

“Now looking at the best program for her, the next ideal race appears to be the Queen Of The South Stakes in Adelaide for fillies and mares.

“So she’s gone around the block and is heading back to Adelaide.”

Rocket Commander has drawn barrier three in the Victoria Handicap, her first race against males since joining Dale’s stable.

“It’s looks a pretty deep race, a pretty open field but it’s a suitable race for her en route to Adelaide,” Dale said.

Rocket Commander has raced well at Caulfield previously, finishing second to Euro Angel in the Group Three Ladies Day Vase (1600m) last spring and fifth behind subsequent Group One winner Silent Sedition in the Mannerism Stakes (1400m) earlier this campaign.

“She’s in good order,” Dale said.

“And from barrier one in a big field she’ll be able to take a drop on them and she’s always very genuine. So I’m sure will run some sort of race.”

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