KINGSTON, Jamaica – The opening event on the nine-race Friday card went to Patrick Lynch’s Formal Fashion ridden by Dick Cardenas at odds of 6/1.
The consistent filly was kept just behind the leaders before sprinting clear at the distance to win by nearly three lengths with overwhelming favourite Capturemyship outsped to finish only fifth.
Favourite Uncle Bally finished lame and last in the day’s second, presenting Natalie Berger aboard Patrick Fong’s Tea Time with her first winning ride of the season.
Fong had a quick follow-up in the third, thus enjoying his best day this season when apprentice Jordan Barrett guided Dorthebutcher to the front inside the last 200 metres to score by two lengths.
In the fourth, title-contending reinsman, Dane Nelson, who dubs himself The Warrior Chief, had to work particularly hard for Colour Me Tan to end a frustrating series of minor-placed finishes to facilitate a second trip to the winners’ enclosure for perennial top-10 conditioner Patrick “Wacky” Lynch on the day.
Third-generation trainer Steven Todd did a very good job of preparing Winx Choice to win the fifth in a driving finish for the four-year-old-filly to enjoy her only success of the season to date. Todd, who is a part-owner of the filly, declared veteran Devon A Thomas, who only had two third-placed finishes from his previous 40 rides this year.
This turned out to be a harsh reminder for the punters that, effectively, this is horseracing and not “jockey-racing”. This choice of rider ensured there were good odds against victory but 69/1 suggests bettors could have taken the series of exercise schooling gallops more seriously.
Chasing his second title, 2018 champion Anthony Thomas started the day on 69 wins, five more than the “Warrior Chief” and drew “first blood” with Wayne DaCosta saddling odds-on favourite Tomohawk, although not impressing, to secure the fifth scoring only by 1 ½ lengths.
Nelson added a second winner when consistent Stanislaus outsprinted nine rivals to win the seventh for defending champion trainer Anthony “Baba” Nunes.
Locked in a race with former 18-time champion DaCosta, Nunes has seen his stable’s $10-million lead on August 15 reduced to just under $1 million by November 7. Nunes, who has lost a few money-spinners due to lameness and other causes, will be doing everything possible to avoid the label of “one-term” champion, being teased already by DaCosta’s fanatical legion of supporters.
Ian Parsard’s aptly named sprinter, She’s a Wonder (Omar Walker), dominated rivals to win the eighth and feature Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup. The juvenile daughter of Bern Identity reeled off the 1400-metre gallop in a smart 1:25.4 clocking and eased down to be six lengths (could have been twice that) clear of her 12 rivals at the winning post.
In the nightcap, El Cliente’s strong stretch run got him to the lead in the final stride to beat front-runner Union Four (Javaniel Patterson) at odds of 12/1. Ridden by apprentice Marshall Porter, and claimed on December 31 by veteran horseman Dennis Lee, this was the fifth win from nine starts this season for the game 10-year-old claiming gelding who has had a different trainer on each occasion.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Steven Todd for his presentation of Winx Choice with the inconsistent filly’s effort being recognised as the Best Winning Gallop. Devon A Thomas gets his first Jockeyship Award for his composure when it mattered in winning by three parts of a length with three other close rivals sharing a length between them.