Horse Racing

St Cecelia provides spark on dull day at the Park

Raceday review — Saturday February 23, 2013

BY WES MARTIN

Monday, February 25, 2013    

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THE outstanding filly St Cecelia was the toast of the Park as the seven-year-old duly notched another facile win in the Eileen Cliggott Trophy to record her 12th consecutive victory.

This record-equalling feat is duly given centre stage by this writer in an article dedicated to her achievements alone.

Punters, apart from the brilliance of St Cecelia had to endure a rather dull day of racing where there was a mixture of favourites and outsiders winning. As a direct result of this mix, the Pick-9 was not caught going into Wednesday's card with a carryover of over half a million dollars.

Former champion rider Trevor Simpson, the man who holds the record for the most wins in a single season, demonstrated yet again that he still has life in the pigskin with a nice double on the day.

His first win was aboard The Best Flyer for trainer Lorenzo Robinson at attractive odds of 5/1 and Sheza Boss Lady in the Track Price Plus 'Dig Out' handicap for conditioner Lorne Kirlew at the upsetting odds of 15/1. The win by Sheza Boss Lady was the final nail in the coffin for bettors of the exotic Pick-9 bet. Punters were already reeling from the effects of seeing 12/1 shot Friends For Life, which seriously challenged the winning potential of the Pick 9 wager.

Simpson has made a significant mark on racing by his performances in the saddle over a sustained period and, while he is much less active these days, it was really pleasing seeing this always crowd favourite plying his trade with such aplomb. We as true race fans can never forget his titanic rivalry with Joe Buchanan who has now departed from the racing scene.

While Simpson continues his success in the saddle, it was worth noting that the apprentices who started their careers last September continue to make their mark with five of the 10 winners on the day. The five winners were Prince Holder on Lashing Force for Raymond Townsend, Shamaree Muir on Raging Prospect, O'Brien White on Hypnotica for trainer Oneil Markland, Orayne Sewell on Friends For Life for Steven Todd and Renardo McNaughton on Pretty Ting for Renex Burrell.

Quite recently the presence of the young riders was waning. Now they seem to have regained their umph and are again playing a very influential role on racedays. The ride by Muir on Raging Prospect showed maturity and patience as he waited after the start of the race and put through his mount on an empty rail as 6/5 favourite Sparkle Haven with Dick Cardenas aboard was completely overrun.

While these apprentices are progressing well with their trade, one cannot help but notice the inactivity and lack of success of a former top-notch apprentice Doushane Gordon. Gordon is but a shadow of his excellent self of apprentice days gone by. The reasons for his noticeable decline are not known, but the hope is that this young man can overcome whatever adversities and challenges he might be having and quickly return to the winners' enclosure.

There was much talk among turfites on the non-running of the Sir Howard Stakes, one of the major preparation races for colts and geldings yearning a path to the Classic races.

There was an obvious divide on the issue but the cold fact is that two of the slated prep races for the Classics have now been abandoned. One supposes that this is just another reminder of the harsh nature of horse racing.

On the day, trainer Steven Todd and Simpson were the leaders with two wins each. Interestingly, the two leading riders Omar Walker and Dane Nelson had only winner. Walker won on Hogan's Hero, while Nelson uncharacteristically failed to score.

Interestingly, the new chief executive officer of Caymanas Track Limited, Cedric Stewart, could be seen touring the racing plant, obviously getting acquainted with his new surroundings. He begins his sojourn on Friday, March 1.

We certainly wish him the best in what is not an easy undertaking.

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