It is lamentable that even on public holidays there is weak spectator support for the 2023 version of the Sport Of Kings. In fact, attendance has not increased significantly since to the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, and the obvious conclusion is that radio commentary, off track betting, closed-circuit TV, and live streaming is the preferred way to be involved instead of being part of the live audience.
The opening event was one the two most entertaining of the nine presented, the other was race nine.
Trained by recent licensee Marlon Brown, winner Avenging Angel (2-1) engaged leader Another Champion (2/1) with 150 metres to race. The former, ridden by two-kilogramme claimer Matthew Bennett basically kept on a true line under pressure, but not so Raddesh Roman on the latter.
Understandably, Roman felt obliged to resort to the oft-practised tactic of getting closer to a main opponent to increase competitiveness. With respect to this, he did succeed, but under the left-handed use of the whip, closed the gap on Roger Hewitt riding Magic Bullet (9-2), who was hoping to exploit it to split the duelling rivals but had to settle for third. The operation stewards elevated Magic Bullet to second at the expense of Another Champion.
Outsprinting four rivals over 1,000 metres straight, Sudden Flight (9-5), saddled by another recent licensee in the form of Gregg Fennell, enhanced the early good impression the 39-strong 2023 cohort of Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) graduates have had in their first four race meetings. Tevin Foster secured the first of his two wins on the day here and returned to give a masterly display in the ninth event. Keeping Anthony Nunes' big three-year-old grey filly Royal Ash (7-2) off the pace, he judged the finish to perfection to snatch the spoils in the final stride.
Apprenticed to the late Hall-Of-Famer Eileen Cliggott, the top female trainer of all time, Charlton "Garie" Riley, four decades ago, was a promising young reinsman as she was then committed to developing jockeys. Incidentally, as at December 31, 2015, Riley had ridden 136 winners from 1771 career mounts. Despite the passage of time, he still demonstrated mastery of the basic tenets of good race riding in guiding Senor Kwanzi (2-1) to victory for trainer Patrick Fong over the 1,200 metres of race three.
Bred, owned, and trained by Fitzroy Glispie and ridden by Reyan Lewis, promising three-year-old maiden colt Money Miser (1-5) won the 1,400-metre fourth event by 21 lengths. Starting at odds of 7/1, owner/trainer David Lee Sin posted improving four-year-old filly Rambling Rose (Youville Pinnock) to win race five over the 1,000-metre straight course.
Run on the same course as race five, JJthestriker, trained by Fitznahum Williams and ridden by Anthony Allen, won race six at odds of 5-1.
Smooth Aviator (4-1), in the hands of Phillip Parchment, led and won race seven over 1,000-metres round for champion and leading trainer Jason DaCosta's lone success on the card.
Run as race eight and featured on the nine-race card was another renewal of the Labour Day Trophy. The 2022 Jamaica Derby, 1000 Guineas winner and the reigning Horse-Of-The-Year Atomica, demonstrated after a dull seasonal first appearance on the April 8 that she is back to her best. This was a 10 1/2 length romp over the 1,400 metres. Champion Dane Dawkins did the riding honours for trainer Gary Subratie.
The Training Feat Award is presented to David Lee Sin for preparing Rambling Rose to beat more highly rated opposition while delivering The Best Winning Gallop. Tevin Foster's consummate skills aboard Royal Ash earns him yet another Jockeyship Award.
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