Band Of Gold, Wilson – the 'front-runners'

…as Hover Craft takes inaugural running of Lindy Delapenha Memorial Trophy


Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Wilson, trained by Richard Azan and Band Of Gold, trained by Wayne DaCosta, offered strong statements of intent for the upcoming Classic races, after decisive victories in the Front Runner-sponsored Sir Howard (colts and geldings only) and Hotline Stakes (fillies only), respectively, at Caymanas Park yesterday. Interestingly both horses started from the number one pole position, with Wilson winning at odds of 5-1 and Band Of Gold at the even longer odds of 9-1.

The native-bred three-year-old non-winners of two events were contested over six furlongs (1,200m) for similar purses of $1.1 million, and are both considered to be the first major preparation events for the five Classic races (1000 & 2000 Guineas, Jamaica Oaks, Jamaica Derby & Jamaica St Leger) to be competed for by three-year-olds later in the season.

Wilson, under the guidance of apprentice Oneil Scott, sat behind the early pace set by Adonis (Shane Ellis) chased by Drone Strike (Anthony Thomas) before making ground approaching the home bend. Turning for home, Wilson challenged Drone Strike who took over the lead as Adonis faded, and when Scott said go, the bay gelding powered home to score by over four lengths. Drone Strike held on well for second money ahead of JamalJames (Bebeto Harvey), but it should be noted that JamalJames, trained by Fitzroy Glispie; had a really poor start to his race and simply could not make up the many lengths he gifted to his opponents. The race ended in a brisk 1:13.2 after splits 22.4 and 46.2.

Wilson is coming on well, and I am really happy with this win. Now the preparation really begins but right now, I am satisfied with how he Wilson is developing,” trainer Azan told the Sunday Observer.

Wilson was the second winner for Scott as the young rider had earlier won aboard Fifty Cents for trainer Andrew McDonald in the sixth race of 11 on yesterday's card. Azan then joined the double act as he saddled Ackee Pie (Anthony Thomas) in the ninth race to win her maiden race and close out his double on the day.

In the filly's section, Band Of Gold, under a brilliant ride from Dane Nelson who has been strangely missing from the winners' enclosure of late, came with a scorching run against the inside rails to get the better of Disability Charm (Anthony Thomas), Lici's Pepsi (Shane Ellis) and Sergeant Reckless (Oneil Mullings) in that order by over a length. The dark bay filly won in a time of 1:13.3 after splits of 23.1 and 46.1. This was just one-fifth of a second slower than the time recorded by Wilson in the Sir Howard.

From the off Nelson, drawn at post position one with Band Of Gold, was not able to go with the pace set by Sergeant Reckless (Oneil Mullings) and Disability Charm (Anthony Thomas). Nelson held the dark bay filly well behind the front-runners, always keeping on the rails as they made made the first turn at the four-furlong marker of the race.

Band Of Gold then moved along the rails in the straight and pulled away from rivals in the last half a furlong to claim the Hotline Trophy by one and three parts of a length.

Band Of Gold has her little nicks and bruises here and there but she is a nice horse, and now the hope is for her to step it up a notch or even two for that matter as we head towards the 1000 Guineas in early April…but we will see and one, this is for certain, both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas this year are wide open races where right now it is looking like any number can play,' trainer DaCosta said.

DaCosta then completed his double when Hover Craft (Omar Walker) made one move to win the inaugural staging of the Lloyd Lindberg “Lindy” Delapenha Memorial Trophy over a mile for horses at the highly competitive Overnight Allowance level. This was a totally uncharacteristic mode of winning by Hover Craft who, during his long career, developed the reputation of being a come-from-behind specialist. Hover Craft was racing for the first time this year.

Also saddling two winners yesterday was many-time champion Philip Feanny. The veteran conditioner posted Khaleesi's Revenge in the fourth race and Jolly D in the fifth race. Both horses were ridden by Oneil Mullings.

Racing continues on Wednesday with a nice-race card.

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