04/23/2010 11:00PM

Paco Boy returns in top form at Sandown


In a marvelous display of sheer class, Paco Boy returned to the races with a bang as he cruised to victory in the Group 2, $153,000 Sandown Mile at Sandown Park on Saturday. Ridden with aplomb by Richard Hughes, the 5-year-old Paco Boy captured this race for the second year in a row, having taken last year's running by three-quarters of a length.

His victory at 11-10 odds over the globe-trotting, multiple group race winner Pressing was that much more impressive because it was Paco Boy's first outing since he finished second to Rip Van Winkle in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on July 29.

It was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third to the late-running The Cheka, who was making his first start since July 17. The time for the mile on good ground was 1:41.65, the second best time for the race in the last 14 years.

Speaking for his father, Richard Hannon, assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jr. said Paco Boy would run next in the one-mile, Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 15, after which a defense of his Queen Anne Stakes title at Royal Ascot is in the works. He could renew his rivalry with the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained The Cheka in the Lockinge, but Pressing will be sent to Italy in search of an easier Group 1 victory.

Rocket Man wins in Singapore

Rocket Man paid his Dubai Golden Shaheen conqueror Kinsale King a compliment when he went wire-to-wire for a 2 1/4-length victory in the six-furlong, Group 1 Lion City Cup at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore.

Rocket Man, second in the Golden Shaheen, will go next in Kranji's KrisFlyer Sprint on May 16 before a possible rematch with Kinsale King in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Vision d'Etat gets a vacation

Any chance that Vision d'Etat might travel to Chicago for the Arlington Million were put to rest on Saturday when trainer Eric Libaud ruled his three-time Group 1 winner out of action until autumn. A dull 12th in the Dubai World Cup in his first try on a synthetic surface, Vision d'Etat returned sore from that effort and is being given the spring and summer off.

Libaud mentioned the Champion Stakes and a defense of his Hong Kong Cup title as possible objectives for the 5-year-old Vision d'Etat.