Review of race day, Saturday, October 16, 2021Tuesday, October 19, 2021
BY WES MARTIN
THE ninth and penultimate event was the feature on the 10-race card honouring Mark My Word ; one the greatest-ever stayers.
Run over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820 metres) there were seven declarations, each requiring serious analysis in terms of form, weight and ability to perform competitively over the distance. Predicting the most likely outcome was challenging.
Trained by veteran Richard Azan who conditioned Mark My Word for a spectacular career racing over a distance of ground, United States-bred Eroy (Oshane Nugent) was bet to weak favouritism at odds of 9/5. Having clocked fast times in exercise and with the last victory being over a sprint trip, it was clear front-running tactics would be the strategy for the imported four-year-old colt.
This tactical approach put his field in some trouble from as far as 1,400 metres out as Eroy, although hard-held, enjoyed a comfortable lead as nearest pursuer Double Crown (Phillip Parchment) was under pressure before half the race was completed. It was therefore a matter of which opponent would find the necessary stamina and finishing speed to get on terms.
The 11-year-old Hover Craft (Anthony Thomas) moved sharply into second 450 metres from the finish to turn for home in serious chase of the long-time leader. Eroy stayed on well to enter the last 200 metres in front but conceding six kilogrammes, proved too much and was outstayed by 4 1/2 lengths. Turned out in unbeatable form by leading conditioner Jason DaCosta, it was the 21st victory from 136 appearances by the durable thoroughbred.
The opening event went to speedy maiden Cataba at odds of 2/1, sprinting under Dick Cardenas to score over the 800-metre straight course and give the former champion jockey the first of two wins on the day. Prepared by top 10 conditioner Patrick Lynch, the filly looking much improved physically was clear in the final 200 metres and was five and a half lengths ahead at the finish.
Javaniel Patterson rode his 23rd winner of the season with Danny Spud (4/5), winning the 1,000-metre round second event for trainer Vincent Atkinson's third success from 20 starts this year.
Half an hour later not even the most confident backer, including trainer Dennis Pryce, of 8/5 favourite Wilson (Robert Halledeen) could have predicted a 16-length runaway in the 1300-metre competitive-looking third event.
Starting at odds of 9/1, race four over 800 metres straight was won by Colorado Ranger (Shane Ellis) with trainer Gary Griffiths also saddling runner-up Letters In Gold (Oshane Nugent).
Christopher Mamdeen, the 2019 champion, rode his 20th winner of the season aboard 2/1 chance Quiet Boss for trainer Fitznahum Williams in the 800-metre fifth-race gallop.
Female apprentice Abigail Able had her fourth success of the racing year with Mr Ambassador (5/2), a former top-class campaigner, clear of rivals by over four lengths for trainer Marlon Anderson's fifth of the year in the 1,000-metre straight sixth event.
Justsaytheword (9/5), owned and trained by Randolph Scott and ridden by Ruja Lahoe, had too much finishing power for eight rivals in the seventh run at 1,100 metres.
Cardenas confirmed his second of the afternoon in piloting Robert Pearson's Alexa's Lodge (8/1) in the eighth, with the Blue Pepsi Lodge filly scoring by just over two lengths in the hugely competitive event run at 1,300 metres while the nightcap was won by Bern Notice (8/5) by a runaway 10½ lengths for Anthony Nunes. Jockey Tevin Foster needed only an economy of effort to earn his 10 per cent commission of the winning purse.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Jason DaCosta for presenting Hover Craft, the ageless battler, in superb enough condition to perform the Best Winning Gallop, while Anthony Thomas secured the Jockeyship Award for his timing and judgement of that horse's speed and stamina.