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Chace The Great poised for Saint Cecelia Cup

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter
ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

With the Caribbean Sprint Championship drawing near, Chace The Great would want to grease his engine, and today's feature at Caymanas Park — the Sixth running of the Saint Cecelia Cup, seems like the perfect opportunity for him to do so.

Winner of the Caribbean Sprint Championship for the past two seasons, Chace The Great is surprisingly without a win this season from five starts. He was expected to romp home easily in his last two races but produced under par performances.

As the 1-9 favourite in an Open Allowance event over five furlongs (1,000m) straight on July 13, Chace The Great was primed to get off the mark following three consecutive second-place finishes, but ended up in fourth place by eight lengths behind Exhilarate and Patriarch.

Then came the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) Trophy on August 1 over five and a half furlongs (1,100m), but as the even-money favourite he finished a disappointing fourth by 4 lengths. Chace The Great was prominent throughout that race but had nothing to offer in deep stretch — a race won by Zephyr.

With those runs under his belt Chace The Great really has nothing to complain about and should put rivals in their place in what should be an epic race, as he takes on opponents I Am Di One, Exhilarate, Uncle Frank, Houdini's Magic and Zephyr — all of whom are well-advanced runners to take home this Cup race.

The Saint Cecelia, an Open Allowance event for three-year-olds and upward going six and a half furlongs (1,300m) for a purse of $1.15 million, is set as the sixth event on the 11-race card with a post time of 2:35 pm. First race is at 11:45 am.

The one that really should be a threat to Chace The Great is I Am Di One, who will be competing at this level for the first time. The talented dark bay filly returns from a three-month break to contest this Cup race.

I Am Di One, this year's 1000 Guineas winner, was a surprise loser of the Jamaica Oaks but returned to winning ways on June 8 in an Overnight Allowance event going nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m). The filly, who was competing at that level for the first time and was running for the fourth time in her career, timed 1:58.3 minutes for the distance to register her third win.

I Am Di One was then expected to compete in the remaining Classic races, (Jamaica Derby and Jamaica St Leger), but probably because of her below par effort in the Oaks, her connections decided against competing in those races which required stamina.

Today's distance should not be a problem as I Am Di One's debut win was over six furlongs (1,200m). The Anthony Nunes-conditioned charge is going to be a very dangerous contender, despite coming up against some top horses.

Exhilarate, also from the Nunes barn , has speed and pace and is going to be the sole leader in this Cup race. The distance should not be a bother to her, a s she holds two victories going six and half furlongs.

Wayne DaCosta's Uncle Frank has been holding his own at this level and although he would prefer it a bit longer, he should not find this distance an issue and could get home in the nick of time, especially if the leaders falter.

Houdini's Magic, the other Nunes entrant, has not been himself of late, but he is a hard-knocking sort who turns up from time to time, and today might be one of those surprise showing.

Zephyr made her presence felt at this level when winning the BGLC Trophy on August 1 and came back on August 30 to finish fourth behind Another Vigorous and Exhilarate at five furlongs round. Despite that lukewarm effort, Zephyr does have a chance of winning this one.

Ones to watch

Race 1) Father Ken/Fabulosity/Thepowersthatbe

Race 2) Rohan's Cattleya/Emperor's Treasure/Son of Spartacus

Race 3) Talented Tony K/Smokey Topaz/Alexandra

Race 4) Riot Worthley/Matriarch/Awesome Glitter

Race 5) Nez Perce/Starboy Flyer/Prince Dominick

Race 6) Chace The Great/I Am Di One/Houdini's Magic

Race 7) Latapy/Yetagain/Salah

Race 8) Adonis/Mr Ambassador/Fly First Class

Race 9) Photogenic/Clearly Ours/Buckaluck

Race 10) Necromancer/Hologram Shadow/Formal Justice

Race 11) Kingswood/Young Boy Eddy/Donald Trog