Race Day Review — Saturday, May 13, 2023
Yvonne Mattis, widow of the late, great horseman Kenneth Mattis who was a top-flight jockey and eight-time champion trainer, was cited and honoured for her six-decade involvement in the racing industry as an owner and breeder.
Run as the tenth event, the feature Yvonne Mattis Cup, contested over the rarely utilised 1800-metre course, was won by even-money favourite Miniature Man, partnered by Miss Abigail Able for champion and leading trainer Jason DaCosta.
The triumvirate of 2023 title-seeking reinsmen Reyan Lewis (39), Tevin Foster (34) and reigning champion Dane Dawkins (28) had their regular impact reduced significantly on this card. The first named only improved his tally in partnering Reminiscn Bolo (8-5), saddled by veteran Barrington Dawes, to win the 1100-metre second event. Meanwhile, in the night cap run over 1100 metres Dawkins was aboard 7-2 winner Tigray Express from the barn of Anthony Dixon.
In the opening event on the 11-race card Leading Lad (13) was certainly that in name and nature as he led and never looked likely to be overtaken. Declared by the former three-time champion conditioner the chestnut colt released his maiden tag in fine style, outstaying his nearest rival by three lengths. Two-kilogramme claiming jockey Matthew Bennett (06) gave a confident display of jockeyship over the 1800 metres. Leading Lad was the first of two winners for the expansive Anthony Nunes barn, with race nine over 1000 metres straight won by his Volatility.
Foster was down on his luck in race three run at 1400 metres. He was found to be responsible for his mount, 3-5 favourite Duke Of Springs (USA), getting into the path of a fancied rival to warrant disqualification from “first past the post” and thus placed last. And 28-1 shot Master of Hall, guided by Jemar Jackson and saddled by Ryan Darby for the first of triple success, got the promotion to take the major portion of the prize money.
Carlton Cunningham, a graduate of the Jamaica Racing Commission latest trainers’ course less than 24 hours prior, thought he had a winner first up but fate intervened. In fact, the signal honour of having a visit to the winners’ enclosure on day one of his new career went to Paul Swaby in race five. Ridden by four-kilogramme claiming rider Calvin Bailey in competent fashion, Katalina (utero) was turned out in excellent condition by Swaby to deliver the 1500-metre gallop by four and a half lengths as 4-5 favourite.
There was more misfortune for Foster at the start of the 1000-metre straight race four as his mount Badgyalriri (1-2) decked him unceremoniously after the first stride. Obviously physically and mentally traumatised, he headed for the car park, leaving an assortment of trainers to find alternatives for his remaining seven mounts. Another four-kilogramme claiming rider, Richard Henry (02) was aboard Gary Subratie’s Silver Fox (5-2) as the five-year-old chestnut horse ended a series of four second-place finishes with a romp exceeding six lengths in the event.
It was Darby’s time again in race six, restricted to maiden foals of 2021 and run over 1100 metres, as debutant Money Market was always galloping clear to dominate rivals by a conservative five lengths at odds of 4-1. Following this success the very experienced and popular Paul “Country” Francis (08), as an alternative for the absent Raddesh Roman, secured a riding double by partnering Nunes’ Volatility at (13-1).
For Darby’s third trip to the hallowed space of the winners’ enclosure it was a very late run by 7-1 shot Brompton Alex in the 1100-metre seventh event. The four-year-old chestnut gelding, owned by Nadon, was ridden by veteran Oniel Mullings. Whilst in race eight, contested over 1100 metres, Youville Pinnock supplied the requisite skill set to guide the Gary Griffith-trained Digital Light to maiden success.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Ryan Darby for the schooling of Money Market and the return to form of both Master of Hall and Brompton Alex, especially the latter who displayed the Best Winning Gallop with that last-gasp effort to credit the Jockeyship Award to Oniel Mullings.