MARK My Word prevailed for the fourth time over Commanding Chief, albeit by a neck, to win the 53rd running of the $1,320,000 Governor General Stakes on Heroes' Day at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Nonetheless, while two of the biggest guns of local thoroughbred racing at present put on a grand show for the near capacity crowd, it was Royal Vibes running for the first time as a juvenile who created the biggest stir by winning the $1,100,000 Hi-Pro "Stables' Chioce" Feeds native-bred two-year-old maiden special weight feature.
Prepared for the races by champion and leading trainer Wayne DaCosta for owners Elizabeth & Carlton Watson, Royal Vibes won the event by three widening lengths in an astonishing 1:19 flat for 1,300m.
The victory also brought up the 100th winner of the season for jockey Dane Nelson, who is in his 10th year as a leading rider at Caymanas Park.
Going off as a 2-1 chance in the field of 11, Royal Vibes, a half-brother to Josie Wales and Colonel Wales, settled on the outside from the off until leaving the 800-m pole.
Using only hands and knees, Nelson began to make what turned out to be a decisive move to hit the front full of running just ahead of El Numero Uno, ridden by Ian Spence, after rounding the final quarter bend.
With two cracks with the right hand whip to remind Royal Vibes that the race was not yet over, the colt, though running a bit green, began to accelerate to open his winning account in fine style on debut.
El Numero Uno, the 9-2 bet, held on to finish second, with Lady Abhujita, ridden by Omar Walker, third 4 1/2 lengths back and the 1-2 favourite, Persian Belle, completing the frame.
Trainer DaCosta thinks Royal Vibes has possibilities and can be considered for participation in the remainder of the SVL two-year-old Triple Crown races as "he works well in the mornings. He is, however, a little on the green side and can be a bit hard to handle," DaCosta said.
"He's overpowering at times, but with time we hope that he will settle down. He seems to be a good sort and we are hoping for the best for him," DaCosta added.
A bay colt by Royal Mister out of November Lace (Peaks And Valleys) and bred by (YS (1955) Ltd), Royal Vibes earned $600,600 as the winner's share.