Sport

Choo Choo Blue occupies favourite slot for Diamond Mile

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 20, 2017

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When his talented American-bred filly Choo Choo Blue won the 13th running of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) Trophy on Emancipation Day (August 1), trainer Peter McMaster predicted that the Gold Cup would have been the next trophy in his cabinet.

Mission accomplished for McMaster, as Choo Choo Blue, in a defining performance which underlined her class and potential, defeated rivals in the 45th running of the Gold Cup feature at Caymanas Park on Monday.

After that victory, McMaster, though not making any bold predictions this time for the ultra-rich Diamond Mile event in December, is confident that his consistent four-year-old bay filly will be a major influence in the richest race of the year.

Choo Choo Blue ( Cowtown Cat ChooBloo by Bolger) has been in remarkable form, finishing no lower than second in her last eight starts ranging from the five straight (1,000m) to seven furlongs (1,400 metres). She has now won four of her last six starts this year.

“The Diamond Mile is the next race we are looking forward to. The time done by ' Choo Choo' on Monday was excellent, and I know this horse can go a mile because her mother was a miler. I can't be 100% sure [about winning] but I am coming,” McMaster said with confidence, quickly adding that his filly – who was purchased at the Ocala (USA) mixed sale – will not be running on Superstakes Day in early November.

“She ( Choo Choo Blue) is overqualified now for the Diamond Mile and she is fit, so we are hoping she keeps her fitness right through, and she is an improving horse because she can go in front also as well as come off the pace,” he added.

Sent off at odds of 4-1, Choo Choo Blue – piloted by apprentice Dane Dawkins – registered a one-and-three-quarter-length victory in the seven-furlong (1,400m) Gold Cup.

Choo Choo Blue covered the distance in a fast 1:23.4, just outside the track and stakes record of 1:22.4 held by Eros since 1994. The splits were 23.1, 45.3, and 1:10.2.

“The jockey rode an excellent race, he rode to my instructions, he didn't go in front but he kept close and made his move at the right time and that was it. She ran a good race as a very fit horse and the time, like I said, was a very good clocking,” McMaster stated.

With the Diamond Mile less than two months away, McMaster said it is [all] down now to proper preparation and making sure his prized filly is kept well for the December 2 event.

“I will always rate her chances highly because when she won that (BGLC) race I told the jockey to keep close, but he got bounced out and he went wide and found himself six lengths behind at the half-mile, four lengths behind at the quarter and the furlong pole and still won the race.

“' Choo Choo' has a lot of talent and she is sound and nice, so I expect good things from her going forward,” he ended.

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