The 2022 season of Futurity competition continued with the 96th renewal of 2,000-metre Jamaica St Leger featured on the 10-race programme. Run as the 10th race, this second jewel of the Triple Crown was one of the most anticipated in recent years. Wide-margin winners of the 1,600 metres 1000 and 2000 Guineas Atomica (163/4 lengths) and Blue Vinyl (9¼ lengths), respectively, meeting in what was promoted as virtually a match race. Both Classic winners were unlikely to be behind any of 11 other pretenders at the finish.
Ridden by Raddesh Roman for trainer Patrick Lynch, Blue Vinyl (7-5) running from post position 12 was hurried out of the gates to ensure he was not trapped out wide in the Clubhouse Turn 400 metres from the start. This tactic left the colt with much less to do 1,400 metres out. Blessed with an exceptional turn of early speed Atomica (1-2) partnered by Dane Dawkins for conditioner Gary Subratie therefore had the luxury of the rider choosing at leisure the moment to make a dash for home.
Dawkins elected to go 800 metres out but a confident Roman asked Blue Vinyl to pursue and the response was immediate. Eventually just under three lengths third, Brinks (Rayan Lewis), who shared the headlines with Atomica was staying on but overtaken easily in the upper stretch with Blue Vinyl sustaining a challenge successfully to lead entering the final 200 metres. He outstayed Atomica by just over four lengths to remain on track for Triple Crown immortality. The connections of Atomica are now left with the option of renewing rivalry with Blue Vinyl in the Derby or going for the less prestigious Jamaica Oaks restricted to fillies.
The opening event run over 1,200 metres went to JJthestriker (6-5) trained by Fitznahum Williams for the stable’s first success for 18 starts this season. Phillip Parchment opened a double to extend his good riding form with his fifth winner over the last three race days.
Claimed by Donovan Plummer seven days prior and ridden by Roger Hewitt, Miss Linda Wray (5-2) was a length better than 3-5 favourite Mr Lyndhurst at the finish of the 1200 metres of race two.
Breeder/owner/trainer Carl Anderson must have been relieved that after a series of placed finishes Mine That Cat (Shane Ellis) was in front at the end of 1,600-metre third event at odds of 8-5 favourite. Given the opportunity to make it six wins in three race meetings Parchment closed a double with the Steven Todd-trained maiden Awesome Prince (3-5) outsprinting six rivals over 1100 metres in the day’s fourth.
Starting at odds of 7-1, Lady Budget (Calvin Bailey) won the fifth event by a length over the 800-metre course for trainer Ian Roberts. While in the sixth, contested over 1000 metres straight, trainer Robert Pearson opened a double with Reyan Lewis riding Will The Conqueror (9-5) to a two-length victory margin.
Favourite Lure Of Lucy (1-2) led and ran well inside the last 200 metres to confirm her condition favoured weight allotment to win the 1,200 metres seventh with Anthony Thomas performing the riding honours with a near three-length advantage at the line.
After waiting for an hour Pearson and Lewis were able to confirm double success in tandem with 4-5 favourite Our Angel just over three lengths superior to 10 rivals in the eighth run at 1,400 metres.
Trained by Ian Parsard, favourably treated by the conditions in terms of weight allotment versatile top class performer Mahogany (2-5) won the inaugural staging of the Clovis Metcalfe Cup by 10 and a half lengths. Metcalfe is the sitting chair of the Jamaica Racing and the Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commissions who has enjoyed the lifelong pleasure of owning great thoroughbreds and bred an outstanding horse such as Mahogany was a most distinguished and fitting honouree on the day.
The Training Feat Award is presented to trainer Patrick Lynch for the incredible improvement of Blue Vinyl who made his debut with a fourth-place finish on February 22 this year. In a compact eight-race career to date, the colt won the important Kingston, a Classic trial event and in now pointed to Triple Crown success with stakes earning exceeding $7.0 million. Blue Vinyl delivered the Best Winning Gallop with rider Raddesh Roman deservedly recognised with the Jockeyship Award.