Large and in 'Charge'

Will In Charge inflicts second career defeat on She’s A Maneater with bold, strong run in Legal Light Trophy

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter

Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Blame, if any is to be given, must be placed on jockey Robert Halledeen, trainer Robert Pearson and the five-year-old chestnut horse Will In Charge for breaking She's A Maneater's winning streak at Caymanas Park yesterday.

Most of the racing fans at the Park stood and watched in stunned silence as She's A Maneater made her way back through the tunnel with jockey Omar Walker hanging down his head with boos showering down from both the Grandstand and Clubstand areas.

After losing out to Sotomayor in the 2016 Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over a mile (1,600m), She's A Maneater, the reigning Horse of The Year, rattled off nine consecutive victories, including the much-vaunted Triple Crown series.

Yesterday it was a new and different situation that faced the filly as, for the first time, she was allowing weight to the all-comers at the top level of local racing.

Will In Charge, known for his front-running style and strength, in a bold, strong and unflinching front-running display, beat She's A Maneater by a length and a quarter in a thrilling finish in the $1.3-million Legal Light Trophy feature over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m). This was Will In Charge's and She's A Maneater's first race for the 2018 campaign.

Will In Charge (54.0 kilogrammes), who benefited from a three kilogrammes deferential in the weights when compared with She's A Maneater's 57.0 kilogrammes, ran the distance in 1:54.4, which was a new Stakes record — erasing the previous mark of 1:55.5 done by Bigdaddykool last year.

Ironically the race was originally hyped as the clash between Bigdaddykool and She's A Maneater, with little thought being given to Will In Charge, but before the start of the race day, Bigdaddykool was declared a late non-starter which had the effect of taking some of the venom out of the trophy race.

Will In Charge got a beautiful break from the number two post position and quickly assumed the lead over S he's A Maneater, Houdini's Magic (Anthony Thomas) and Perfect Neighbour (Dick Cardenas) going around the clubhouse turn and heading towards the six-furlong (1,200m) point in the race.

With Will In Charge increasing his lead approaching the last half mile (800m), She's A Maneater moved her way down in a clear second place with the crowd standing on its feet loudly urging her on to unleash her usual and anticipated closing kick coming into the lane for the drive.

In deep stretch, it looked as the race was going to be a close one — a matter of inches, as if the result was going to be resolved by a photo — but Will In Charge found extra from the brilliance of Halledeen and emphatically won in the end to thunderous applause of those present at the Park.

Perfect Neighbour was third with Marvellous Marva, under Oneil Mullings, completing the frame in the five-horse field.

“What can I say? it was a great race, it was a great win and I happy. I am very happy with the win. Every time I asked him ( Will In Charge) to run he responded and run. He is a very nice horse and I am pleased with the victory,” Halledeen told the Jamaica Observer.

Earlier on the 11-race card, Siempre Bueno also made all the running when winning the Lady Geeta Trophy feature by a length and a quarter going six furlongs (1,200m). The race ended in 1:12.0.

The riding honours on the day went to Shane Ellis, who brought home a true hat-trick of winners — Raksha in the seventh race, followed by Bad Boy Trump (eighth), and then Zugulu, who was a chance ride in the ninth.

Racing continues on Wednesday next (April 25, 2018) with a programme of 10 races.

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