Horse Racing

Play your cards right with Poker Star

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter
ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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After going winless in almost 25 months due mostly to injuries, Poker Star found his footing with a thunderous run to signal his return to form when winning at the Overnight Allowance level on June 16.

However, the 2015 champion sprinter now has a more difficult task at hand as he faces seven rivals in what will be a blistering race in the top-rated Open Allowance event going five furlongs (1,000m) straight that will surely highlight a good-looking nine-race programme at Caymanas Park today.

Poker Star is up against the likes of the talented Orpheus, searching-for-form Campesino and the hard-knocking Another Bullet in this quick sprint event. The others Armageddon, Zephyr, Birdie My Love and Wong Don are all capable of figuring here and all in with a chance of copping the major share of $546,000 from the $1 million purse money. The race is positioned as the eighth event on the card and will go to post at 5:25 pm with first post at 12:05 pm.

Poker Star, in a run which signified that he is almost back to himself, defeated Soy El Senor and Sarah Lee by a length and a half going over six furlongs (1,200m) on last. Although the final time for the event, clocked at 1:13.0 minutes was far off his best, it was clear indication that Poker Star is on the on his way up.

With that run exposing his form, Poker Star should report even better for this and could complete back-to-back wins. Five furlongs (1,000m) should not be a problem for Poker Star and even so, he is light enough at 52 kgs (112 lb).

After that blowout run on last going six furlongs (1,200m) coming off a three-month break, Orpheus is expected to be a strong contender here for top honours. The five-year-old chestnut horse is very effective over the distance, having clocked 57.1 and 57.4, respectively, the last two times he ventured over the straight course.

If he can reproduce the form of any one of those runs, Orpheus will be in the winners' enclosure when this race is over.

Although eight, Campesino still packs a good punch and could prove competitive here. Campesino was not disgraced on last when finishing in fifth position by over five lengths in the Reggae Trophy over five furlongs (1,000m) straight. That was his second run for the season and given his back class, Campesino could prove hard to beat as long as he is fit.

Another Bullet could not match rivals on last when finishing in fourth position by over 12 lengths going six furlongs (1,200m). However, he is quite effective going shorter distances and will play his part here. Another Bullet, showing his versatile side, won at five furlongs (1,000m) on May 12, but that was on the round course in a time of 1:00.2. That run showed that he can sprint, and with the positive change of rider in Dick Cardenas, Another Bullet is due every respect here.

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