Shane Ellis to partner Talented Tony K in Derby
Having already conquered the 2,000 Guineas in smashing style and the Lotto Classic run for the Governor's Cup in a dramatic, nail-biting finish, Talented Tony K now sets his sights on the ultimate prize in horse racing, the Blue Riband - Jamaica Derby over 12 furlongs (two furlongs longer than the Lotto Classic) set for June 14.
After his early races gave clear indication that he was better suited to sprinting, Talented Tony K with Lasix administered for the first time defied the odds to win the eight furlong 2,000 Guineas on the proverbial canter. His performance last Saturday in the Governor's Cup demonstrated the progress he has made under the guidance of young trainer Lorne Kirlew. Talented Tony K staved off the persistent challenge of Relampago and by sheer grit and determination got home by a short head. It was not a victory that exuded complete dominance but it was one which emphasized his development with a strong based being laid going the two furlongs extra in the Derby.
And if preparing Talented Tony K for the Derby was not enough, one of the issues Kirlew has to deal with going into the most sought after race is the choice of jockey to accompany his Classic winner. The Traditional - Ocean Liner bay colt was piloted by Omar Walker in the Guineas and Shane Ellis in the Governor's Cup. Walker who is now riding in Canada said before he departed the shores of Jamaica that he would return to ride Talented Tony K if asked by the connections. That victory in the Guineas by Walker earned him his first Classic winner after being champion jockey on four occasions.
In the Governor's Cup, Ellis was simply at his best as he waited on Talented Tony K by restraining him before asking his to go after five furlongs were completed and in the finish, he was able to get a final effort which eventually brought a hard fought victory.
As to the final choice for the Derby, Kirlew said: "Well I have consulted with the owners and I can report that a decision has been taken, Shane Ellis will partner Talented Tony K in the Derby come June 14. And while I gave guidance the decision was always theirs," the young conditioner said.
Commenting further on the task of getting Talented Tony K ready for the Derby, Kirlew said: "I have three weeks to give him (Talented Tony K) a short rest before preparing him in earnest for the Derby. He has done everything I have asked of him and I am sure he will respond in the usual business-like manner when his preparation is stepped-up. Talented Tony K came out of the Lotto Classic in good shape, he is happy and contented, but let us see; I certainly will be trying my best."