Sport

Bad day for favourites at the Park

Wes Martin

Friday, September 07, 2012    

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UP to the running of the ninth race, which was the feature Kenneth Mattis Trophy, no favourite in the previous eight races managed to win.

Race after race the best backed horses bit the dust, and although there was no outlandish outsider obliging, punters were feeling the heat. Little wonder then that choosing the Pick-9 was a fleeting exercise which ended with an eye-catching carry-over of $3.2 million. For sure such a carry-over will stir support tomorrow as punters in their different ways try to solve the mystery of the Pick-9. Hope the card will support vibrant betting.

The number one draw in a five straight is always considered to be the 'hell hole'. The chances of winning coming down the five straight course from the one-draw is commonly accepted as almost an impossible feat with the possible exception of races where only five or six horses face the starter. Statistics over the many years of racing at Caymanas clearly indicate that horses drawn in the middle or on the outside (stand-side) usually prevail in five straight races.

This statistical truth prevailed again last Saturday. The fourth race was a classic example. Dolla Win was the justified favourite for the event. The form was rich and jockey Dick Cardenas is riding well. No complaints there, except the draw -- number one. It was therefore not unusual watching Dolla Win finishing seventh behind Lovetta Jones drawn at 10, Notus at nine and Money Honey at 11. Eleven horses raced after three late scratches, with Skipping Michelle, who finished fourth, the best of the lot from the 1-5 draws. It behooves race-goers to watch carefully when potential favourites are literally trapped in the number one post position by placing their bets elsewhere in the field.

It was really pleasing watching a two-year-old race with nine starters running over four furlongs. Although it is difficult to see why at this stage in the racing calendar juveniles are racing over four furlongs, the fact that nine lined up must have been a feat in itself by the Racing Office. The race was a cracker with the 9/2 fourth favourite Diplomaticimmunity prevailing over the 8/1 chance On Song. Young trainer Nicholas Edwards, with five winners from 36 starts this year, is congratulated for his preparation of the winner for East Liverpool Bloodstock. It seems this Liverpool connection is doing much better than their erstwhile counterparts in Mersey land.

The only female trainer left at the Park, Margaret Parchment, is mentioned because she had two starters in the race, Who Goes There and On Song. Over the years, Miss Parchment has not been known for starting horses in two-year-old races, the fact she had two on Saturday in the same race is certainly a surprise to this writer and finishing second must have been a real nice bonus for Miss P and VMW.

The race for the jockey's championship is literally done and dusted. Dane Nelson is well on course for his first title and he is doing so with aplomb. Another triple on Saturday drove the nails even further as his closest rival Cardenas rode only one winner which came aboard Erasmus in the feature race. There is no doubt that Nelson is in the form of his life. His swashbuckling, never say die attitude toward his craft endears him to punters who repose confidence in him. He is not a 'Bimbo' Rodriquez, or a Trevor Simpson, in terms of lighting the track on fire, and he certainly does not have the cult worshipping status of the two, but slowly but surely having done the hard miles he is reaping success. The fact that he is attached to the stables of the champion trainer has certainly increased his chances.

Richard Mitchell has been there for a long time and can now be officially given the title of veteran. He sometimes is dormant and then suddenly he reminds that he still has the goods to perform. Saturday was one such day when he came to the fore with a deserved triple. He started the day by winning the first two races on Jaylen and King T, the first a well timed come-from-behind neck victory on Jaylen over Diabolical Kid.

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