A cogent field of talented native-bred three-year-olds colts and geldings will go head-to-head for parity in their final prep, the 22nd running of the Prince Consort Stakes (Gr II) for a purse of $1.3 million at Caymanas Park today.
The Thornbird Stakes (Gr II) for native-bred fillies that was run a week ago, unearth Argentina as a major hope for the 1,000 Guineas, and so today's contest, despite the ominous presence of Willie Goldsmith, Hover Craft, Perfect Neighour and Royal Vibes is also primed to turn up something special, not forgetting that horse racing is full of uncanny surprises.
The Prince Consort is streamlined to highlight the day's 11-race card, and in so doing, has attracted a competitive field of nine runners going 1,400 metres. Post time is set at approximately 4:45 pm, with first post at 12:15 pm.
The card is packed with a number of races that include high profile runners who will make the programme competitive with the day's highligther sitting at the top.
Of the four top three-year-olds in the feature, the Patrick Chang-trained Willie Goldsmith should start a worthy favourite. Notwithstanding the presence of the Wayne DaCosta trio of Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes winner, Hover Craft, Pick3 Super Challenge Trophy victor Perfect Neighbour, and Royal Vibes, winner on debut of the Hi-Pro Two-Year-Old Stakes, and second to stablemate Perfect Neighbour in the Pick3 Challenge.
Willie Goldsmith, a chestnut colt by Traditional out of Gracious Gift (Law Of The Sea) bred by Michael Lyncook and owned by WB Racing, is unbeaten in two impressive career starts.
In his opening race as a two-year-old on December 15, Willie Goldsmith, though running a bit green, showed that he was one for the future. He then returned to the track as a three-year-old and confirmed that he was something special.
Installed the 1-9 favourite going 1,400 metres and leaving barrier 14, he raced in touch on the outside. He then turned for home three lengths fourth and after he was set down for the drive under Omar Walker, came away from the field to win by six lengths in an afternoon stroll. Since then he has looked much improved at exercise and looked all set once more to keep his unbeaten record in tack with leading jockey Walker remaining astride.
His main rivals are expected to come from the Wayne DaCosta trio. While trainer Patrick Chang has gone for an accomplished rider in Walker, the champion and leading trainer DaCosta his gone for three capable claiming apprentices -- Orlando Foster, who was aboard Perfect Neighbour in his lone win; Renardo McNaughton, who will ride Hover Craft, and this year's leading apprentice Prince 'Dagger Master' Holder.
All three horses have been well prepared by DaCosta, and all three are ideally suited to 1,400 metres. What remains to be seen is whether or not they can all carry their two-year-old promise into their three-year-old racing commitment.
One thing that is certain, Willie Goldsmith will have to demonstrate that he is the very best three-year-old in the land to escape the presence of these three runners.
Should he manage to prove his superiority in today's Prince Consort it could be quite a different story all together when the Classic season begins, judging from the promise these three runners have shown.
At a glance while his potent danger is any one of the three, a preference is for the lightly weighted Royal Vibes. Since his auspicious debut going 1,300 metres when he clocked an eye-opening time of 1:19:0 minutes, he seemed to be struggling to recapture that masterful turn of foot -- that is to say he has been running below expectations.
Be that as it may he has worked rather favourably in his Classic build up and going this light, this Royal Minister bay gelded son out of November Lace could prove too light and illusive for his opponents. And even though he were to shorten (there is some doubt that he will), his two other stablemates from a concerted effort should not be too far away to test the true mettle of the nimble-footed Willie Goldsmith.