THE PLOT THICKENS

…as jockeys continue to make major changes in 1000, 2000 Guineas races set for the 'Classic Weekend' of racing

BY OBSERVER RACING WRITER

Tuesday, April 10, 2018



The countdown is well and truly on for the season's first two Classic races — the 1000 and 2000 Guineas sponsored by Cash Pot and Money Time. and with it, as is usually the case, there is much anxiety, final preparations and, of course, last-minute changes.

The 1000 Guineas (fillies only) is set for this Saturday (April 14, 2018) and the 2000 Guineas (colt and geldings) for Sunday (April 15), in what has been dubbed by the promoting company of racing, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment as the Classic Weekend of racing.

The Supreme Racing Guide reported on Friday that former three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson had hopped off the Wayne DaCosta- trained Drummer Boy, instead choosing to ride the talented Another Vigorous, who is trained by Rowan Mathie, in the 2000 Guineas. Trainer Mathie has since confirmed the shift by Nelson.

This change by Nelson has effectively left DaCosta in a quandary, as now he has to find a suitable replacement. When contacted on Sunday, DaCosta informed that he was still seeking a rider for his charge, with Omar Walker — DaCosta's stable rider — yet to decide whether he will mount up on Drummer Boy or his other runner in the 2000 Guineas, Without Exception.

The plot thickened on Friday (April 6) with news circulating on the racetrack and down the backstretch that Nelson had flown the DaCosta coop again. In the 1000 Guineas, DaCosta could have three possible starters — Brandy, Band Of Gold and Miss Formality.

Nelson rode Band Of Gold in the premier fillies' preparation race for the 1000 Guineas, the Thornbird Stakes in mid-March. Prior to the Thornbird Stakes, it was Nelson who guided Band Of Gold to victory in another 1000 Guineas prep race, the six-furlong (1,200m) Hotline Stakes.

Nelson has apparently taken the decision to discontinue his association with Band Of Gold for the Anthony Nunes-conditioned Fayrouz. The jockey for Nunes' other entrant in the 1000 Guineas, Nadeshico, now appears to be a toss-up between Dick Cardenas and apprentice Linton Steadman.

Further to Nelson riding Fayrouz for Nunes, railbirds and other observers are also shouting loudly that Nelson may well give up his usual summer sojourn riding in Canada, which he has been doing for the last three years, to become the stable rider for Nunes.

The final declaration of horses and riders for the 1000 Guineas takes place today, while Wednesday is declaration day for the 2000 Guineas.

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