KINGSTON, Jamaica – IN the defining run of his career, Nipster (Casual Trick – Nippit) staked a solid claim for Horse of the Year honours after winning the 8 ½-furlong Ian Levy Cup on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at Caymanas Park.
The early pace was set by Roy Rogers (Natalie Berger), Jamai Raja (Devon A Thomas) and surprisingly, this year’s Derby winner King Arthur (Javaniel Patterson).
Mahogany (Dane Dawkins) was behind the leading trio coming down the backstretch. Mahogany, known for his tear away speed, waited until 5 ½ furlongs were left in the contest before moving closer to the leaders. Mahogany then took over around the four-furlong bend and set off in his attempt for victory. At that time, Robert Halledeen was steadily moving Nipster past rivals.
With three furlongs to go Mahogany still held the advantage but Nipster was now much closer, and by the time they entered the straight for the final two furlongs Nipster was already vying for the lead.
The writing was on the wall for the rest of the field as Nipster lifted himself to a level never seen before, pulling away from rivals in a flash and maintaining his gallop with ease.
When the winning post appeared Nipster was seven lengths ahead of his stable companion Sentient (Ameth Robles). Toona Ciliata (Omar Walker), who was never in the hunt, made a vain attempt in the last furlong to earn the third slot.
The splits were 23.0 x 46.1 x 1:10.4 for a final time of 1:43.3.
COMMENTS BY TRAINER GARY SUBRATIE
“Nipster has raced 14 times this year and every time he faces the starter, he is ready to run; and if you ask him to run next week he will do so at full tilt. Without doubt Nipster has proven that he is the best three-year-old in training. He is a gem to train, and always give his all. Today [Saturday], he hit a peak that even surprised me. Nipster is special and it is a real pleasure to be his trainer as he will get a well-deserved rest before starting his four-year-old campaign, so let’s hope he remains healthy.
“Plus, finishing first and second in such a race is really nice.”
COMMENTS BY OWNER/BREEDER MICHAEL BERNARD
“This performance by Nipster proves his quality and has placed him firmly as the top candidate for Horse of the Year. Nipster won the Jamaica St Leger, finished second in the Derby, and now has put away with ease the best horses in training. I am really proud to have bred and to own this outstanding thoroughbred.
It is always refreshing to see a three-year-old develop to the point where s/he can defeat the best older horses in training after the Classic races are completed. Nipster did that and it is noted also that another three-year-old, Mahogany, finished fourth behind seasoned veterans Sentient and Toona Ciliata.
In a season which had three months removed because of COVID-19, Nipster raced 14 times and must be rested now to be at his best in the new year.
Mahogany, after his 1:16.1 run on December 12 travelling 6 ½ furlongs, once again demonstrated that against the best, he is ineffective at distances longer than a mile – and that is being generous. Mahogany should stick to sprinting once and for all.
Derby winner King Arthur needs a rest while Toona Cilita has come off the boil in his last two outings as Nipster has beaten him twice in those races, which might be a determining factor when the votes are counted for Horse of the Year honours.