The admirable Roy Rocket brought the house down in claiming an eighth victory at Brighton on Tuesday.
From 20 previous visits to the Seaside venue, John Berry’s stable stalwart had struck gold on seven occasions and been placed six times, most recently easing to a four-length verdict in an amateur riders’ race over a mile and a half a week ago.
With regular partner John Egan back on board, the eight-year-old grey was the 6-5 favourite to follow up in the mintbet.com Cash Back 2nd To Fav Brighton Handicap, and soon adopted his customary position at the rear of the field.
Just for a moment it looked as though the drop to a mile and a quarter might find him out as Roy Rocket appeared to be struggling to pick up the leaders, but he powered home late on and got up to score by three-quarters of a length from Topmeup.
Berry said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s always special to have a winner, but it’s doubly so when it’s Roy Rocket at Brighton.
“He was a hot favourite, but I did think he was beatable today. He was 6lb higher than last week and racing over a less suitable distance, but he knows where the winning post is and really digs in.
“He has a big following here and always gets a great reception and it is quite moving.
“John Egan knows him like the back of his hand as well and there are no better jockeys out there than John.”
Asked about future plans for his stable stalwart, the trainer said: “There is a race back here for him next Tuesday, but whether he’ll even get an entry in it, let alone run, I’m not sure.
“Obviously he’s had two quick runs now and one doesn’t want to be greedy. Having said that, he does take his races very well, so we might give him the entry and see how he is.
“I do want to bring him back here for the Brighton Festival in August, which is the week after Goodwood. It’s just a case of whether he runs again before then or not.”
Berry added: “I think horses like him are a good advertisement for racing.
“There is so much focus on the top end of the sport that sometimes people can forget that the horses at the lower end try just as hard and train just as hard.
“They’re just four of five seconds slower over a mile and a half than the top-class horses!”