Naheelah – a special filly
Winner of the 1980 Jamaica Oaks
THE next edition of the Jamaica Oaks, a race confined to three-year-old fillies over 10 furlongs (2,000m) is scheduled to be run on Saturday, April 29 at Caymanas Park. The Complete Racing Guide relives the history and appeal of this event by highlighting the 1980 Oaks won by Naheelah .
WINNER — Naheelah 3, ch. f.
BREEDING — Zaleucus - Bright Star
OWNERS — Rhoel Rhoden and Ernest Byles
JOCKEY — Neville Anderson
The following is an account of the race provided by the 1980 Racing Year.
The mile-and-quarter Classic for native-bred three-year-old fillies attracted a field of 12 and resulted in a runaway victory for Naheelah, the favourite.
Trained by Kenneth Mattis, the chestnut filly cantered home by five lengths from Zarah with the Mattis- trained
Forget Me Not finishing a length-and-a-half behind in third place. Naheelah was very patiently ridden by Neville Anderson, who was rewarded with his first-ever Classic success.
It was the Philip Feanny-trained Zarah who went into an early lead from Naheelah, followed by Reconciliation and Regal Choir, as the field galloped past the stands for the first time.
Turning into the long backstretch, it was Zarah still out in front by about two lengths from Regal Choir, followed closely by Naheelah on a tight rein in third position. Leaving the half-mile marker, however, the race gradually developed into a straight fight between Zarah and Naheelah, as Regal Choir dropped out of contention and Forget Me Not made steady headway after being held off the early pace.
Bustled up to get on terms with Zarah, Naheelah soon joined her upfront approaching the final bend and as they straightened for the stretch drive, she came through on the rails to take command and effortlessly sprinted clear of Zarah to win on a common canter.
Naheelah, who was bred by Calvin O’Sullivan, in the process gained handsome compensation for the rather unexpected length-and-a-half defeat to Button Up in the 1,000 Guineas, four months earlier, when every indication was that she was not at her best.