The 'Diva Princess' stars in Trinidad
Princess Popstar wins Oaks by six lengths, Raeven Renae finishes second
In another command performance Princess Popstar, the reigning horse of the year, who is now plying her trade in Trinidad and Tobago, ignited the Santa Rosa racetrack with her brilliance yesterday when she captured the Massy Oaks (nine furlongs) by six and a half lengths.
It was the three-year-old's first race in Trinidad, with the Oaks being used as a preparation race by her trainer John O'Brien for the bigger objective which is the Trinidad Derby scheduled to be run in three week's time. By virtue of yesterday's win, Princess Popstar now boasts a racing record of seven wins from as many starts. The dominance of Jamaican-bred horses racing in the twin-island republic was further demonstrated as local Oaks winner Raeven Renae (Shane Ellis) was second, with Glorious Country third. Raeven Renae trained in Jamaica by Fitzroy Glispie was recently sold and was also making her first appearance in Trinidad.
With jockey Wilmer Galviz doing the riding honours for the first time, Princess Popstar was very troublesome before the start of the race, giving gate handlers quite a handful before entering the number four draw for her first run in her new home. From then it was the same Princess Popstar that racing fans have come to know and adore in Jamaica.
With a tight hold, Galviz allowed the Adore The Gold - Doc's Paladin bay filly to bounce easily on the lead, and although another Jamaican-bred Soca Rhapsody tried her best to keep up with 'The Princess', it was a useless effort. Princess Popstar moved away and by the time she entered the straight was six lengths ahead and cruising along. Raeven Renae, as is customar,y came late and although Princess Popstar appeared to be losing some ground in the final half a furlong it was not enough for the Jamaican Oaks winner to make a challenge.
Owned by 2Penyu and bred by Ham Stables Limited, Princess Popstar covered the distance in a respectable time of 1:54:4 minutes, setting splits of 25:1, 49:3, 1:14:3 and 1:41:1 minutes.
Commenting on the performance of Raeven Renae, trainer Anthony Nunes said she ran her race.
"Raeven Renae ran as expected, but as we all know Princess Popstar is special. I am, however, pleased with the performance of my horse, and given a faster pace, she may have come within three lengths of the winner," Nunes said.
And just a note: Soca Rhapsody, who tried to test Princess Popstar's speed ended 71-and-a-half-lengths in last position of the five runners in the $200,000 (JA $3.5 million) event.
Jamaican trainer Gary Subratie saddled one winner on the 10-race Independence Day programme as his charge Bigman Bas won the first race, the Nissan Optional Claiming $30,000 - $27,000 event going over 1,200 metres in 1:13:0 minutes. Bigman Bas is owned by Baskawan Bassawh.
Jamaican-bred Urban Knight, also ridden by Galviz, won the co-feature the - $200,000 (JA$3.5 million) Bernard Dulal-Whiteway Independence Day Cup, a Grade One event for horses (three-year-old and upwards) over 1,800 metres on the turf. Urban Knight won by six lengths and posted 1:53:3 minutes for the distance raced.
Jockey Shane Ellis, who had secured six rides on the programme, failed to find the winning post in front.