Star Singapore speedster Rocket Man finished out of the placings for the first time when fourth in Sunday’s Sprinters Stakes in Japan,
Rocket Man went into the race with 17 wins and four seconds from 21 starts.
He was aiming for his third international Group One win after taking out the Golden Shaheen at the Dubai World Cup meeting in March and the KrisFlyer Sprint at Kranji in March.
Felix Coetzee aboard Rocket Man tried desperately to get a clear run in the final stages to no avail with Curren Chan leading home a Japanese trifecta.
Disappointed trainer Patrick Shaw said Rocket Man tried his heart out but his chances had been lost at the 600m when he was caught in a pocket.
“He just didn’t have any luck in running,” Shaw told the Singapore Turf Club.
“When you lose your momentum in a Group race like this and the straight is so short, it was always going to be difficult for him from then on.
“He ran out of his skin but he just did not have the luck we had anticipated.”
Shaw said he believed Rocket Man was uncomfortable racing in a clockwise direction but would press on to a start in the Hong Kong Sprint in December.
“We’ll see how he pulls up but Hong Kong is still his next target,” he said.
“The race is also run that way, but what can we do? That’s the way racing is.
“He will just have to practise further around that direction and we can only hope he will improve on that score.”