It is that time of year again when the ladies of racing usually wearing their stunning hats and the fillies on the track take centre stage with the running of Jamaica Oaks for fillies only over 2,000 metres at Caymanas Park today.
This year's version of the Oaks is sponsored by Bigga soft drinks and features 13 of the best three-year-old fillies, including the somewhat unlikely winner of the 1000 Guineas, Selectabook, who will face the same horses from that race, only this time the race is around two turns and 400 metres longer.
The following is an analysis of the 13 starters.
1. ZACAPA A Robles G Subratie
The tongue tie is off for this race but should make no difference to her chances. (Alisios - Buns of Steel)
2. FIERCEANDFABULOUS S Ellis A Nunes
Although her rider is in scintillating form, Fierceandfabulous is not a winning factor here. (Burning Marque - First Choice)
3. FANTABULOUS K Robinson V Williams
Will no doubt benefit from this outing. (War Marshall - Lady Indira)
4. LADY ABIJITA P Francis R Azan
Finished sixth in the Guineas well behind the winner. There is a noticeable change in rider from apprentice O Foster to the much more accomplished Paul Francis and also a change of equipment with the Figure 8 now on. She gives the impression that the extra 400 metres of the Oaks will suit her. She is going to run well. (Miracle Man - Lady Bakul).
5. PRINCESS SASSY A Martin N Ennevor
Reported sick for her Guineas assignment and cannot be given a chance here. (Traditional - Princess Lal).
6. RHEA'S A SUPERSTAR D Nelson R Darby
Ran exceptionally well in the 1000 Guineas when she led for a long way and fought stoutly to finish fourth. With the Oaks longer, she will 'cry wolf' from the front without making a significant impact in the straight. (Tracking - La Cerentola)
7. SHAMROCK D Gordon P Feanny
Not even the fabled luck of the Irish can assist Shamrock in winning. (Alisios - Rosegate)
8. SELECTABOOK D Cardenas A Nunes
An upset winner of the 1000 Guineas, where she was kept off the pace instead of leading, finished strongly to win quite comfortably. Selectabook is improving nicely based on her exercise gallops and will be a very hard nut to crack here. Her only problem is going to be the distance. Two extra furlongs may not be to her liking and might find that last furlong and a half hard to deal with. Will finish in the top three. (Natural Selection-Buyabook)
9. LADY SHARVANI R Mairs G Subratie
Change in rider from Omar Walker to Richard Mairs and also a change of equipment. Did not run as expected in the 1000 and seemingly did not enjoy the last furlong of the Guineas, but will come back from that run. Working well and there is high anticipation. The Subratie stable is, however, placing more stock on the chances of Perfect Day. (Legal Process - Lady Hyderabad)
10. GO GO TRAIN R Mitchell H Parsard
Finished like the proverbial train in the Guineas to earn third place for her connections. Not one of the glamour fillies of the age group, but will revel over the 2000 metres of the Oaks. If the leaders in the race go out at a merry clip, Go Go Train will catch and beat them. She is ready for another good run and the blinkers are on. (Western Classic - Lady Shaneisha)
11. ARGENTINA W Griffiths P McMaster
Her run in the Guineas was unbelievably bad. Ran no race at all and finished in the ruck. That run must be disregarded. Talk at the racetrack is that Griffiths had her too early in the pace thereby negating her famous late kick. Widely rumoured that Chalrick Budhai would have been given the ride but came late to work her last Saturday leaving trainer McMaster with no option but to recall Griffiths. Now that the many times Classic winner Griffiths knows more about Argentina, expect him to hold the filly off the pace and make his move in the straight. This race might be her redemption. (Dayton Flyer - Sabatini)
12. PERFECT DAY O Walker G Subratie
Came late in the Guineas to finish second and many thought a better ride would have brought her home. Despite the late finish Selectabook was still going away leaving the impression Perfect Day will find an extra 400 metres burdensome. The change from Robles to Walker might do the trick this time, as also she will be running on Lasix for the first time. Perfect Day is going to relish every inch of the Oaks distance and will be very difficult to beat. (Distorted - Valors Star)
13. I BELIEVE N MIRACLE J Erwin V Williams
If this maiden wins the Oaks it will be a miracle of monumental proportions. (Miracle Man - Lady Wakwalaay)