IT'S been nearly a year to the day since he raced in a Golden Slipper.
But after a long journey to recover from injury, Rocket Tiger will return to racing n a Benchmark 80 race over 1200m at Flemington on Saturday.
Wagga trainer Scott Spackman's stable star suffered a hairline fracture in his shoulder in a paddock accident, but has jumped through all the hoops required to get back on the track.
The three-year-old won the first two races of his career in December, 2020, and finished an unlucky second to Home Affairs in the Group 2 Silver Slipper two months later.
He was tenth in the Golden Slipper, the latest edition of which will be run in Rosehill today.
While confident he will run well, Spackman said it's difficult to predict how he will fare after such a long layoff, as well as running down the Flemington straight for the first time.
If all goes to plan, Spackman hopes to target the Wagga Town Plate before a possible tilt at Queensland's winter carnival.
Rocket Tiger finished third in a trial at Albury late last month, and Spackman is confident he's ready to go.
"It was one of those paddock accidents, it wasn't great. The right vets have looked at him found where the problem is, and we put him through the protocol we had to," Spackman said.
"We did a lot of water walk work with him and he's shown no signs of discomfort since, we've taken our time.
"I trialled him but didn't ask too much of him there. We're back at the races and we're hoping he picks up where he left off."
Spackman admitted racing on the straight is the unknown factor for Rocket Tiger, who will be ridden by experienced jockey Damian Lane.
"You just don't know, but he's a pretty adaptable horse who doesn't shirk his task," he said.
"Whether or not it's a bit daunting for him going down the straight for the first time (we'll find out), they tell me it can be.
"But we've got the right man on, he knows how to judge pace and when to pull the trigger.
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