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Nunes could extend lead in trainers' race with

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Having done well to preserve his lead atop the trainers' standings so far, reigning champion Anthony Nunes is likely to widen his $1-million-plus gap over rival Wayne DaCosta, as his charges Legality and Universal Boss headline the front-runners for The United Racehorse Trainers' Association Trophy at Caymanas Park today.

Though having fewer runners on the competitive-looking 11-race card with eight starters compared to DaCosta's 11, Nunes has a strong chance of securing a one-two finish with the back-to-form Legality and Universal Boss, who step down in class to compete in this Non-Restricted Overnight Allowance event over 7 furlongs (1,500m).

Post time for the curtain call event is 4:50 pm. First post is 11:10 am.

A top two finish for Nunes here would see him taking a huge chunk of the $1-million purse, plus whatever his early runners earn, to add to his current stakes tally of $41, 565,730.

However, it is much easier said than done, as DaCosta himself has two runners — Uncle Frank and Master of Hall — in the 16-horse field, and he too will be eyeing the maximum share of the spoils. His current tally is $40,279,200.

Those aside, Gary Subratie's Duke, Richard Azan's American-bred Eroy and the Ian Parsard-conditioned Superluminal are also in with a shot of taking the prized position.

Still, Nunes' American-bred colt Legality and in-form title-chasing rider Dane Nelson seems a tough nut to crack here. Legality's November 1 performance where he came from well off the pace at the half-mile (800m) to win over 5 furlongs, speaks volumes about his health and condition.

Even though that run was among high claimers, the winning time of 1:06.1 should also indicate that Legality is heading in the right direction and this extension in journey will only serve him well, allowing Nelson to bide his time before sending him on his way to s second successive win from three starts this season.

Universal Boss, to be ridden by apprentice Oshane Nugent, has done his fair share in Open Allowance company, with his latest stint being in the Viceroy Trophy going a mile on October 24, where he finished last behind stablemate and the country's current top-rated horse Toona Ciliata.

Today's event represents a slight drop in difficulty for Universal Boss, who has trained well for this encounter, where his chances of breaking a winless five-race spell, is well and truly alive.

Uncle Frank is a tough and genuine campaigner, who has not been himself of late. In fact, Uncle Frank has so far failed to visit the winners' enclosure this season, registering three second and one third-place finishes from nine starts.

But DaCosta' calling for leading rider Anthony Thomas to do duties here should indicate that a good run might be on the cards, once Uncle Frank is presented in the right frame of mind.

The same is true for DaCosta's other trainee Master of Hall, who has promised much but has not delivered. Truth be told, Master of Hall has been plagued by injuries and his last two runs have been on a sloppy surface, which is not to his liking.

But if all is well with Master of Hall and the weather conditions are in his favour, then he should prove a lot more competitive this time around.

Duke is a versatile runner who is gradually finding his way back to form. He didn't fire on November 13 when finishing third going 5 furlongs round, but a distance such as today's, is where he is truly most effective and he should be thereabouts at the finish.

Eroy left a lot of people disappointed when he proved no factor in the Kenneth Mattis over 1,820m on November 7, but something might have gone amiss, which has caused Azan to attach the tongue tie for this assignment.

If that equipment turns out to be a key factor, then Eroy could spoil the party for both Nunes and DaCosta, if their runners err.

Meanwhile, Superluminal is a proven campaigner who finished fourth in the recent Kenneth Mattis. Superluminal is getting on in years but still packs enough class and experience to factor here.

The others – Garrincha, Wilson, Wartime, Jamai Raja, El Profesor, Coco Chanel, Crimson, Extruder and Rohan Kabir— are all capable runners, who should give good accounts of themselves in the toss up for the minor placing.

Ones to Watch
Race 1 — Sweet Toppins/Generational/Redford/Big Big Daddy
Race 2 — Sniper Man/Cup Cake/Sheer Beauty/Above Hall Links
Race — Funky Fashion/Black Royalty/Uncle Bally/Top Gear
Race 4 — Super Amia/Money Marshall/Celebration/Freight Train
Race 5 — Storm Valley/Killer Bee/Flower's Thirty/Subbie
Race 6 — Mirabilis/Sir Arjun Babu/Top Eagle/First Selection
Race 7 — Eagle One/Solid Approach/Loose Ball/Basilicus
Race 8 — Kay Boy/Adoring Sammie/Executive Chief/Lava Boy
Race 9 — Calculus/Sure Curlin/Sir John/Action Ann
Race 10 — Excessive Force/Highly Bless/Powerman/High Diplomacy
Race 11 — Legality/Duke/Eroy/Uncle Frank/Universal Boss