KINGSTON, Jamaica – Having endured a rocky patch with Eroy at the back end of last season, trainer Richard Azan is feeling better that his American-bred charge is back to his usual competitive self, heading up to the Open Allowance level.
Azan’s sentiments came shortly after Eroy easily brushed aside a three-year-old and upwards Overnight Allowance field by 10 lengths to land the Ash Wednesday trophy over 6 ½ furlongs (1,300m).
Though the margin of victory may have come as a surprise, Azan believes it was always on the cards, especially after Eroy showed some semblance of a return to form when finishing second behind the speedy England’s Rose on January 2.
In that five furlongs round event, Eroy running with 57.0 kg (126lb) was a mere 1 ½ lengths adrift, as he gained with every stride before the wire came.
Prior to that, the four-year-old bay colt, who was always considered to be on the rise, was out of sorts in his four races between November and December last year, finishing eighth, seventh, fourth and sixth – failing to add to his three wins and two third-placed finishes earlier in the year.
However, Wednesday’s display was a good indicator that he is once again heading in the right direction, leaving Azan optimistic about his prospects for the remainder of the year.
“Eroy is quite well bred, he had a few tough races where he didn’t do as well as we expected, but he is improving a lot and overall, I think he did well in Overnight Company and is now going to move up to the higher classes,” Azan said in a post-race interview.
“Like I said, he is now improving and I am happy for that, so his next race might be pretty soon. We will just see how he comes out of the race and prepare him for the next one, which we hope will bring about another good performance. That said, I think he has a lot of potential for 2021,” Azan added.
After being taken to task at exercise since his runner-up performance to England’s Rose, Eroy (Khozan – Golden Bucket by Mass Media) entered the Ash Wednesday contest with a lot in his favour to give a good account of himself.
He had very little pace to contend with at a distance more to his liking, coupled with a significant ease in the scales at 53.5kg (118lb) and the figure 8 removed.
All this meant Eroy only needed to be focused and guided accordingly by Omar Walker, to finally return to winning ways, which he did.
Eroy was expected to face much competition from Gary Subratie’s talented filly Another Affair, but she turned out to be a no-show at the end.
Both Eroy and Another Affair (Dane Dawkins) came away well and was on level terms approaching the half-mile, watching patiently as the fleet-footed American Victory Turn (Javaniel Patterson) set the early fractions with Cryptocurrency (Linton Steadman) and Extruder (Paul Francis) giving chase.
However, when Walker asked Eroy to go at the three-furlong mark and turned for home in front, Another Affair, though being hustled by Dawkins on the inside rails, never really quickened, and as such, faded as Eroy sprinted away to make it a mere formality.
Vincent Atkinson’s veteran campaigner Chace the Great (Shane Ellis) closed well for second, with the Peter McMaster-trained Princess Emanuelle (Dane Nelson) taking third. Extruder stayed on for fourth, with Another Affair a disappointed fifth.
The winning time was 1:18.3. The splits were 22.4, 45.3 and 1:11.1.
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