John Berry's Roy Rocket aiming for win number 10 at Brighton Racecourse
Some horses just seem to capture the hearts and minds of everyone, and Roy Rocket is certainly in that bracket.
Now aged nine, John Berry’s stable favourite will head down to the south coast on Saturday in search of his 10th career victory at Brighton Racecourse.
The son of Layman has always enjoyed his trips to Brighton, having picked up his first win there four years ago, with a further three handicap triumphs coming in 2018.
Berry is well aware that reaching double figures in Sussex could be too much to ask this weekend, but outings with Roy Rocket are more than just about victories these days.
“He just seems to get the idiosyncrasies of the track at Brighton. There are plenty of ups and downs and while some horses cannot handle it, he does,” said the Beverley House Stables trainer.
“He may be nine now, but other than the fact that he has turned white you would never know it – he acts like a horse half his age.
“Whatever happens on Saturday happens – it is all about enjoyment with him. It would be wonderful if he could make it 10 at Brighton but after winning three handicaps there last year he obviously goes up in weights and so the chances are he might not win one this year.
“But he has surprised us all before and he is capable of doing it again. He will run well, I am sure of that.
“He is a lovely horse to have in the yard. I get asked so often by people how he is and that is really special.”
The affection for Roy Rocket was there for all to see at December 2018’s Racehorse Owners Association Awards, where he beat off competition from the likes of 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook, Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent and the multiple Group-winning sprinter Take Cover to win the event’s Special Achievement accolade.
“It was overwhelming,” added Berry, who is the former Mayor of Newmarket. “When you see the horses in his category, plus the fact the likes of Enable, Roaring Lion, Stradavarius and Kalashnkiov were also winners on the night, that shows the elite company he was in.”