Reigning Horse-of-the-Year Saint Cecelia could prove to be the juggernaut of local sprinting when the evergreen six-year-old chestnut mare seeks to continue her reign by repeating her success of last year, against a positively charged field of gale-force-looking Grade One hot-steppers in the 41st running of the $1,500,000 CTL Gold Cup at Caymanas Park today.
The CTL Gold Cup, a Graded Stakes race for three-year-olds and upward is the highlight of a competitive 10-race card that is scheduled for a post time of approximately 4:35 pm with first post at 12:15 pm.
The event has attracted a pugnacious field of 10 that include Horse-of-the-Year runner-up Mark My Word, Mismyrtleboyrichie, Noon It Is, Commanding Chief and Classy Prospect.
Trained by Spencer Chung for owners, Robert F Chung & WP Valentine Chung, Saint Cecelia has been undefeated since July 11 of last year and in the process has racked up 10 victories that included last year's edition of the event.
A chestnut mare by Burning Marque out of the former Shell Silver Plate and The Prime Minister's Stakes winner, She's On Wheels (Bates Motel) and bred by Ham Stables, Saint Cecelia has mounted 19 wins from a career 30 starts and is now only two wins away from equalling the record of consecutive wins of 12 established by War Zone.
She has trained enterprisingly for what could be her most demanding run since losing to Cassanova Boy some three seasons ago.
And for this a magnum opus has to be produced if she has to escape the howling fury that is expected to engulf the final 250 metres channel after setting down for the drive to the end line.
Last year the nimble-footed mare had only Mark My Word as her main tormentor. However, for the 41st edition the proven class sprinter among rivals for the past year will now have to dig deeper than ever to hang on to her crown as not only Mark My Word, who is also undefeated since last year's Gold Cup, will be seeking revenge but, also the far striding American-bred Mismyrtleboyrichie, who was knocked off from his record chasing ambitions.
Both Mark My Word, trained by Richard Azan for owners Elite Bloodstock Limited, and Mismyrtleboyrichie by Lorne Kirlew for owners Jigzy Blade have been well prepared for the challenge and should be competitive to the final stride.
Were these two the only threat it would have seemed a much simpler task for the enterprising mare, but the presence of the three-year-old American-bred speedball filly, Noon It Is, Commanding Chief, Classy Prospect along with Sweet Trail, the final 200 metres will be an agonising run, as from exercise reports each of these runners is prepared to go hunting for a Christmas bonus — and not the minor share either.
It is therefore the runner and rider alike with the tenacity and fitness, who will endure when they come thundering down the track.
Ones To Watch
Race 1 The Best Flyer (Richard Mitchell)
Race 2 Checkitout (Shameree Muir)
Race 3 Mr Skill (Shane Ellis)
Race 4 The Gummer (Ryan Nelson)
Race 5 Splitting Image (Holando Butler)
Race 6 Galactus (Dane Nelson)
Race 7 Awesome Sensation (Dane Nelson)
Race 8 Black Rocket (Carlton Malcolm)
Race 9 Saint Cecelia (Shane Ellis)
Race 10 Light Brigade (Shane Ellis)