THIRTEEN HORSES CLAIMED
Two were taken from the first event, including winner Storm Valley, who was claimed from Phillip Elliott by Donald Clarke for owner Joseph Thomas, while Linton Calder claimed Party Princess from Tyrone Prince for himself. Both horses were claimed for $180,000 each.
From the fourth event, trainer Patrick Fong took Sheboom for owner Somora Clarke from Patrick Lynch; Rum With Me went to Ray Phillips for owners Leslie Bennett and Winston Radlein, from the barn of Fernando Geddes and Versatile Vision was claimed from Gary Griffiths by Fitznahum Williams for owner Sandra Solomon. All claimers in the fourth went for $1 million each.
Trainer O'Neil Markland claimed fifth race runner-up Gentle Giant from Ryan Darby for owner Janet Najair; Step In Faith went to Ryan Williams for owner Delroy Wellington from the barn of Leroy Tomlinson. Byron Davis claimed Fabulosity from Dennis Thwaites for himself and Rudolph Hardial tagged Lala Diva for owner Baddals' Syndicate from Steven Todd. Those four were claimed for $550,000 each, while Devonte' was taken from Maurice Crooks by Gary Crawford for owner Colshar Limited on a $450,000 tag.
Sixth race winner Nina Dorada was claimed by Winchester McIntosh for owner Richard Coore from Lawrence Freemantle and runner-up Wifey Sez So was claimed from Ian Parsard by Patrick Fong for himself. Unlce Wal was claimed from Nicholas Smith by Dale Murphy for himself. All went for $250,000 each.
ASURETY FINALLY SHEDS MAIDEN TAG
It took him several races more than some would have expected, but Asurety is now finally on his way up the ranks after belatedly topping a non-restricted Maiden Condition Race for four-year-old and upwards horses at 7 furlongs (1,400m).
Competently handled by leading rider Tevin Foster, Asurety (Perfect Curlin – Sure To Cure), who was out for the 26th time in his career, gave trainer Edward Stanberry, owner A BMW and breeder Michael Bernard something to celebrate on the 10-race card.
Though topping the scales at 57.0kg (126lb), the four-year-old chestnut gelding left the gates in good order on this occasion and watched patiently from fourth as Millinium Star (Javaniel Patterson) and King Air (Jawani Forbes) dictated terms for most of the way, before being asked to make a move by Foster approaching the lane.
When the leaders straightened, Asurety, Select Me (Robert Halledeen) and Jupiter Man (Phillip Parchment) out wide took aim and soon it became five across the track on the run to the furlong pole. After a few bumps and pulls, Asurety and Jupiter Man emerged from the pack, but the former produced the better late turn off foot to edge away for a three-quarter lengths win.
Jupiter Man placed second but was later disqualified and placed behind Select Me, King Air and Millinium Star.
The final time was 1:32.2, behind splits of 25.3, 51.1 and 1:17.3.
TRAINER PHILLIP ELLIOTT ON THE DOUBLE
It is not new for Phillip Elliott to notch multiple wins on a single race card, but it certainly has been awhile since the journeyman trainer achieved the feat and Saturday's 10-race programme served up one such rarity. His only two starters on the day, Storm Valley and Aphelios, both came good with contrasting performances.
Elliott's first win on the card, and by extension, for the season as owner-trainer, came in the second event when Storm Valley romped a five-year-old and upwards optional claiming ($180,000-$150,000) contest going 6 furlongs (1,200m).
Despite shouldering top weight 57.0 (126lb), the nine-year-old dark bay horse (Storm Craft –That Girl), ridden by many-time champion jockey Omar Walker, went straight to the front from the off and was never in any danger of being upstaged.
Storm Valley won by 5 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:21.0, after splits of 25.0 and 52.1 seconds. Fiery Path (Bebeto Harvey), Party Princess (Tevin Foster) and Dr Sahir Alexander (Jordan Barrett) completed the frame.
Aphelios, partnered with Reyan Lewis, then came from well off the pace to top a three-year-old and upwards optional claiming ($550,000-$450,000) contest, also over 6 furlongs.
The five-year-old grey (Blue Pepsi Lodge –Ecstatic), who was claimed from former champion trainer Anthony Nunes in September last year, epitomised the term 'third time lucky', as this was his was third race under Elliott's guidance.
Aphelios was not to be denied on this occasion, as he rounded his more fleet-footed rivals throughout the event and took aim at long-time leader Gentle Giant (Paul Francis) in the homestretch. He later caught and went by the tiring Ryan Darby-trainee to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Step In Faith (Robert Halledeen) closed for third ahead of Lala Diva (Anthony Thomas). The final time was 1:16.4, behind splits of 23.3 and 48.2 seconds.
After enduring a long and difficult period of injuries and setbacks, American-bred Stranger Danger has seemingly found a new lease on life, as he turned in his best performance in many moons to top a three-year-old and upwards claiming ($1 million-$800,000) contest coming down the 5-furlong (1,000m) straight course.
Stranger Danger, who won his first nine races on local soil when trained by the now deceased decorated trainer Wayne DaCosta, last registered a win in 2019, when he bettered rivals in the now discarded Invitational Mile. He followed those up with two second-place finishes behind then stablemate She's A Maneater in the Diamond Mile as well in another Grade One event before the downward spiral began.
Try as DaCosta and others did, they could not get Stranger Danger to reproduce his best, as his only performance of note, last year in particular, was a third place finish over the straight course.
However, the now seven-year-old dark bay horse (Buffum –Casual Kiss) conditioned by Fitzgerald Richards ran a blinder on January 15 to place second by a neck to Special Counsel in a $750,000 claiming event. With that run signalling some semblance of a return to form, Richards brought back the Colla-owned charge for a shot at the higher claiming ranks and Stranger Danger delivered.
Ridden by champion jockey Dane Dawkins, Stranger Danger broke well from the wide number seven draw and tracked leaders Lightning McQueen (Abigail Able) and Versatile Vision (Christopher Mamdeen) for most of the way.
When they entered the main course, Dawkins urged his charge to run and soon Stranger Danger joined Versatile Vision and Secret Traveller (Roger Hewitt) for an entertaining duel in the closing stages. And Stranger Danger just got up in time to win by a short head.
Versatile Vision held on for second, just ahead of Secret Traveller with Rum With Me (Ramon Nepare) back in fourth. The final time was a decent 59.2 seconds, behind splits of 23.1 and 46.1 seconds.
— Sherdon Cowan
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