Nelson stars as 3-y-o season unravels
Race day review — Saturday February 2
THERE was no doubt that Dane Nelson, the reigning cham-pion jockey who rode four winners on Saturday last, was the star of the race meeting. Yet the connoisseurs of racing paid special interest on the development of the Classic season.
The first port of call for the connoisseurs came in the day's third race -—a three-year-old Restricted Allowance for non-winners of two races lifetime. All eyes were on Piscean Rocket and The Tactician. The former had an auspicious two-year-old debut but was firmly put in place by the highly regarded Willie Goldsmith.
Piscean Rocket, ridden by Omar Walker and trained by Richard Azan, allayed some fears and anxious moments with a facile seven-length victory, thereby partially restoring his connections' faith in a possible Classic run. The Tactician was second with Lady of Merit third. Piscean Rocket completed the five-round event in a time of 1:01.1.
Then came the fourth and with great anticipation race-goers waited to see the maiden run of the much-touted Rock Union trained by Anthony Nunes and ridden by Shane Ellis. Well, the three-year-old bay colt by Seeking Gold-Lady Lydia completely dismantled the field winning by an expanding 17 lengths to throw down the gauntlet to all and sundry in a final time for five furlongs round of 1:00.2.
Inevitably, comparisons will be made of the runs by Piscean Rocket and Rock Union. The two raced half an hour apart which means the conditions were literally the same for both horses. Piscean Rocket was racing for the third time — one as a two-year-old and twice at three, Rock Union was racing for the first time.
The difference in time for a similar distance was four-fifths of a second in favour of the debutant. This theoretically, calculating at the internationally accepted norm of one-fifth of a second being equal to one length, means that if the two Piscean Rocket and Rock Union had raced against each other the latter would have won by four lengths.
These calculations are but mere conjecture as it is early in the season, the levels of development will be different and for sure, stronger opposition will be coming soon, yet the palates of racing fans have been whetted by these performances. Certainly there is more to come and we wait with great anxiety.
The race day started with a second look at Commander One from the stables of Wayne DaCosta with Dane Nelson in the saddle. It was another easy win for the foreigner this time by 15 lengths compared with the 16 he won by on debut. His time of 1:05.1 was two-fifths of a second slower than on his first outing carrying three pounds less in weight.
Notwithstanding, Commander One has added an intriguing and powerful element to the racing stock and his every move will be followed with great attention.
Commander One was the first of four winners on the day for Nelson who also piloted Region De Naskra for trainer Ryan Darby with the same combination coming together for victory with Austin Luke. Nelson's final winner was a peach on Cantare to allow DaCosta to complete a two-timer.
Nelson's four-timer was a quick response to another four-timer by Omar Walker on Wednesday. The two are apparently locked in a fierce battle for the jockey's championship which can only assist in promoting more interest in the sport.
There was another unfortunate incident in the day's final race as two rider apprentices — Orlando Foster who rode Crazy Racer and Davidan Robinson on board Mojito Jam — fell. Foster was taken to hospital while Robinson was treated and sent home.
This writer congratulates young Robinson for assisting the medical team with placing Foster into the ambulance. Worthy action by the young man.