Evaluating the race day of Saturday, Dec 23, 2023
VETERAN reinsman Devon A Thomas was in winning riding form on the 10-race pre-Christmas programme.
In the opening event, contested by a field of nine non-winners of four races, Bridal Blush (7-2), declared by Donovan Hutchinson, beat her nearest of eight rivals by over 10 lengths.
Thomas’s tactic was to wait for battling front-runners Rusty (1-2) and JJ Warrior (3/1) — ridden by Javaniel Patterson and Omar Walker, respectively — to exhaust their speed and stamina before sprinting to the lead 250 metres out.
Heavily backed at 3-5, four-year-old bay filly imported in utero Prissie was saddled by Alford Brown for the opener of a stable double, with familiar rider Javaniel Patterson assisting the effort smartly.
She made all the running but had to turn back a couple of challengers to score in the 1,600-metre second event by one and a half lengths.
In race three, run at 1,000 metres straight, sent off at 7-2 Superio (Shane Richardson) got up in the final stride to score for breeder-owner-trainer Ian Roberts.
Based on exercise reports and bet at 4/5, juvenile debutant Sheriff In Town, trained by Patrick Taylor, was expected to make a promising impact but failed to leave the gate when under the starter’s order.
On the other hand, it was the Anthony Nunes-schooled and Tevin Foster-ridden World Surprise (6-5) who impressed, cantering home ahead by nearly 10 lengths in a time of 1:00.2 for the 1,000-metre straight gallop.
In the day’s 1,600-metre fifth event it was 9-1 against Fault Line, nominated by owner-trainer Nicholas Smith, with 2019 champion Christopher Mamdeen the declared rider.
Strongly ridden 700 metres out Fault Line got on terms with dominant front-runner Simba The Lion (Prince Holder), with 150 metres remaining, and edged away to score one and a half lengths ahead of the late effort of even-money favourite Inspired Miracle (Ruja Lahoe).
Money Market (6-1) dominated a competitive line-up by seven lengths over the 1,200 metres of race six. Trained by Robert Darby and partnered by outgoing champion Dane Dawkins, the progressive three-year-old bay colt has now won in three of his six career appearances.
At the end of race seven, restricted to three-year-old maidens and run at 1,000 metres round, it was a return to the winners’ enclosure by trainer Alford Brown to meet Don Pablo, after the colt’s five-and-half-length margin of victory at odds of 9-5.
Tevin Foster’s effort was the first of two wins on the card. Half an hour later in race eight — the featured inaugural staging of the Christopher “Chris” Armond Memorial Sprint Trophy — hat-trick-seeking Emperorofthecats (2-1) — bred, owned and trained by Carl Anderson — controlled the pace of the 1,100-metre gallop to score by three lengths.
Top-rated, out-of-class, and improving three-year-old Sensational Move (Raddesh Roman), prepared by Gary Subratie, dominated the last 400 of the 1,200-metre ninth event to secure victory by nine lengths at odds at 2-1.
In the nightcap for maidens four-year-old and upwards Wildfire (3-1) was good enough to beat the nearest of her seven by 10 and a half lengths to confirm Foster’s double riding success.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Anthony Smith for posting Wildfire off a six-month layoff to win convincingly in a good time of 1:00.2 for the 1,000-metre straight course. Fault Line, a sluggard who is usually well behind in the early stages of his races, was not allowed to idle at any stage and displayed the Best Winning Gallop, aided in no small measure by Christopher Mamdeen who deserves another of his numerous Jockeyship Awards.