KINGSTON, Jamaica – Having not raced since November of last year, many questions were raised about the fitness of former Caribbean sprint champion Chace The Great. Those questions were answered on Saturday last (June 20) by his gritty seasonal bow.
Though getting on in age at seven, Chace The Great showed that he still has some class left in him, scoring a long overdue win against his younger peers in a non-restricted Overnight Allowance event over 5 ½ furlongs (1,100 metres).
Even more intriguing is the fact that both jockey Kiaman McGregor and trainer Vincent Atkinson, are of the view that the chestnut gelding could have done much better than the ½ length win and moderate time of 1:07.1 indicated.
“He [Chace The Great] could have done a lot better than what we saw, but the issue is that he is an old horse and requires a lot of work.
“We will continue to work on him, we are going to do a lot of swimming and cantering, slow canter and see how best we can keep his form,” Atkinson, who was winning his first race as a trainer on Jamaican soil said.
The trainer added: “Chace The Great has started to be more relaxed than usual because he is usually very aggressive in the mornings, but he is getting on in age, so it is all good, and we continue to do our best with him.”
Coming into Saturday’s event, Chace The Great was expected to play third fiddle behind the likes of God of Love (Dane Nelson) and the speedy Mr Universe (Romario Spencer), based on the form.
However, with his 13 rivals being a class below his usual place of competition, Chace The Great, at odds of 6-1, was not about to be outdone.
The Piaget Stable-owned Chace the Great was well held in fifth by McGregor, as Mr Universe, the 9-5 second favourite, dictated terms for the first three furlongs with Lala Diva (O’brien White) for company.
Approaching the homestretch, Mr Universe tried to steal a march slipping away by over a length, with Nelson now winding up God of Love to make his move.
Sensing some danger, McGregor followed suit aboard Chase The Great and quickly dismissed God of Love before gobbling up Mr Universe at the furlong pole, but had to stave off the fast-finishing Uncle Frank (Raddesh Roman) close to the wire.
McGregor revealed that Chace The Great could have won by a wider margin had he not lost control in one of the stirrups.
“I executed everything according to the plan, I got a clean break, relaxed him, and ignored the leaders and then made my move in the final two furlongs. But I wasn’t well balanced in the saddle at the furlong pole and that’s why he didn’t switch his lead,” McGregor explained.
“Had that not happen, I am sure, I would have won a lot easier, because I think he is back at the top of his game. All in all, I feel very great with racing being back and I am happy to be in the winners’ enclosure; all I have to do now is continue working hard,” the apprentice ended.
Chace The Great (Greatness – Our Miss Ruth), now has 13 career wins from 43 starts, including 11 second-placed finishes and seven in the third slot. His career earnings is over $14 million.