Horse Racing

Trainers' championship already heating up

Observer writer

Friday, February 09, 2018

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The 2018 racing season is but a month old, and already we are seeing the signs of what could turn out to be quite an enthralling race for the trainers' crown.

Last year Wayne DaCosta earned his 17th title by the skin of his teeth. Anthony Nunes, still to win his first championship, fought to the bitter end, but came up short by just over $2 million.

DaCosta was propelled to victory by the exploits of his super filly She's A Maneater and the early performances of Fearless Samurai sandwiched with the old stagers of Lottery Ticket, Hover Craft, Royal Vibes, Perfect Neighbour, as well as the two-year-olds, Brandy, Greek Goddess, among others.

Despite having three horses on the top 10 stakes-earning list — Bigdaddykool, Patriarch, and Houdini's Magic — Nunes could not match the over $20 million in stakes money earned by She's A Maneater.

The situation is now quite different in 2018, with Nunes setting a blistering pace and DaCosta having to play catch-up. To date, Nunes has secured seven wins and nine second-place finishes (up to Wednesday Jan 31, 2018), plus numerous third and fourth positions to saunter into an early but encouraging lead over DaCosta.

The champion trainer's title will more than likely be decided by the results of the major money-spinning races for the year, including the five three-year-old Classic races — the Lotto Classic run for the Governor's Cup, the Superstakes, the Diamond Mile, and the Supreme Ventures Two-Year-Old series of three races.


An early look at the horses in the Nunes camp sees a steady build-up of good hard-knocking competitors from Overnight Allowance upwards. Bigdaddykool, Houdini's Magic, Bilingual, Siempre Bueno, Soy El Se or, Orpheus and a returning Sotomayor represent valued earners for the Nunes coffers.

On the three-year-old side, Nunes has a number of horses to fly his flag in the Classic races, but the loss of Patriarch — out injured and not expected to race until the last quarter of the year, is of much significance.

While not winning any of the Classic races last year, Nunes was ever present, with Bilingual and Sotomayor seemingly always in the mix.

The Nunes camp recently received an encouraging boost with the win by first-timer Adonis, and we are sure there are more horses to come.But for the trainer to mount a sustained challenge against DaCosta, Nunes' three-year-olds will have to do well.


She's A Maneater leads the way comfortably, while DaCosta will be looking for the likes of the returning Perfect Neighbour and Seeking My Dream to earn much more than they did last year, if they stay healthy, plus the earning potential of, say, Loose Cannon and possibly Mr Universe.

In the three-year-old arena, DaCosta will no doubt pin his hopes of an 18th championship on Without Exception, Drummer Boy, Brandy, Storm, and Greek Goddess.


All the ingredients are present for a mouth-watering contest for the trainers' championship, and while the 'big' races will undoubtedly be a determining factor, it would be unwise to underplay the significance of the number of second and third-place finishes produced by the two main aspirants.

We await with anxiety the outcome of the 2018 trainers' championship; it is good for racing.

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