KINGSTON, Jamaica – Curiously named Vampire Rejection, the winner of the opening event, was the first of three successes for joint champion jockey Dane Nelson. Trained by Donovan Plummer and starting at odds of 5/2, the lightly raced five-year-old son of Soul Warrior dominated the early fractions and never looked likely to be overtaken in scoring by six lengths.
There was a predictable match in the 1000-metre straight second between Baby Star (Anthony Thomas) conditioned by Johnny Wilmot and Custer (Tevin Foster) prepared by Alford Brown. Failing to abandon the habit of hopping leaving the gate Custer lost a fraction of a second and although sprinting in front for 800 metres was worn down by his principal rival to concede two lengths at the wire.
In the 1600-metre third, Hot Ice (Omar Simpson), trained by Raymond Townsend, followed up the January 30 nine-length triumph at odds of 5/1 with a hard-fought three parts of a length winning advantage at 7/1.
The first of three visits to the winners’ enclosure by trainer Gary Subratie was delivered by Christopher Mamdeen with well-fancied Sir Arjun Babu in the fourth. Although drifting to the stand side the gelding stayed on gamely to score by just under a length for the first of double success for the 2019 champion jockey.
Restricted to four-year-olds and upwards maidens whose career performances yielded no second or third-placed finishes except in dissimilar races, this entry condition of the 1200-metre fifth presented the usual ultimate challenge to the punters.
Most had not given the appropriate performance assessment to Expeditious (Ramon Nepare) over 14 lengths, third in its previous start, resulting in a 15/1 odds against the triumph by trainer Marlon Anderson’s charge.
The previous performance of Robert Pearson’s Will At War indicated that there was nothing in the line-up with the ability to deny Dane Nelson his second of three wins on the day in the 1300-metres sixth event. Will At War skated in over nine lengths clear leaving just another half an hour delay to Nelson’s third, as Papito justified favouritism in the 1100-metre seventh for trainer Gary Subratie’s second of three.
It was Subratie’s turn to wait half an hour to confirm his third as Crimson deploying its customary style of racing well off the early pace arrived in time to win the inaugural 1600-metre Alexander Hamilton Trophy and in the process closed a double for Tevin Foster. Mamdeen also confirmed double success when Coppertone, recently acquired from the Richard Azan barn by trainer Randolph Scott, was always in front at 24/1 in the 1100-metre ninth and final event.
The Training Feat award is presented to Raymond Townsend for the performance of Hot Ice in a stronger field than the previous race. This mare gets a deserved Best Winning Gallop accolade for a game effort credited to the patience, calmness and skills of Tevin Foster, resulting in him being recognised with the Jockeyship Award.
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