A highly-charged New Year's Day racing programme — though not overwhelmingly well supported — especially in the higher grades of races, looks set to ring in the 2013 racing season highlighted by the $700,000 New Year's Day Trophy at Caymanas Park today.
Contested among Restricted Allowance III native-bred four-year-olds upward (NW3 O/T), the New Year's Trophy has attracted a tenacious-looking field of 11 going 1,300 metres and set to go to post at approximately 4:40 pm. First post is at noon.
The $815,000 CTL Fan Appreciation Day Trophy for Overnight Allowance three-year-olds upward going 2,200m and the $500,000 McKay Security Limited Trophy call going 1,820m are two other trophy races carded on the 11-race card that are set in similar competitive fashion.
These seven races, and the ramaining, could turn the racing day into absolute entertainment for real 'fan appreciation' to launch the new racing season.
The New Year's Day feature has no less than eight or so runners who possess more than worthwhile credentials to run out winner of the race at 1,300m.
Nonetheless, it is expected that the winner could come from a veritable four: Cantare, stable-mate Antoinette, El Patron, Sunlight Express, and recent winner Differentgeneration.
Though any one of these could go all the way, preference is given to Cantare, a very capable dark bay gelding by Region Of Merit out of Forbidden Beauty (Pangur Ban) who is bred by Orange Valley Estates and owned by a consortium of Elizabeth DaCosta, Bruce Levy & Raymond Rousseau.
Cantare, prepared for racing by 12-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, produced an under-par performance while sporting the blinkers on last.
He, however, returns to action minus the blinkers with the champion jockey Dane Nelson replacing Andre Martin in the irons, and having pleased in his preparation, the son of Region Of Merit is now expected to come calling after turning up the lane to be right there challenging furiously for pride of place approaching the wire.
El Patron, trained by Anthony Nunes, who was a trifle late and run out of it close home over the 1,300m distance on November 10, could prove the most lethal danger to a Cantare victory.
Owned by Elias Haloute, El Patron, a four-year-old chestnut gelding by Sir Lal Bahadur out of Lady Chiriya (Footloose II) is a two-year-old Classic winner who has not visited the winner's enclosure since winning the second-leg in the SVL ultra-rich Two-Year-Old Triple Series on November 26, 2011.
He has been, however, hard-knocking as a three-year-old without much success, but should be hell-bent on making amends in the new season as he is again well prepared to make amends.
Nelson went close with El Patron on the gelding's last two runs but has returned to doing stable aboard Cantare. However, the four-time champion jockey Walker was called up to replace the new champion jockey for duty atop the late running gelded son of Sir Lal Bahadur.