KINGSTON, Jamaica – Following the agreement to observe all the protocols set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to combat COVID-19, the promoting company Supreme Venture Racing & Entertainment Limited provided some measure of support for industry players by deciding to stage the race card scheduled for Saturday, March, 14 on Tuesday, March 17.
Odds-on favourite Super Mal was expected to outsprint rivals and was always clear with apprentice Mathew Bennett ensuring the Steven Todd trained mare kept a straight course to finish three-and-a-half lengths in front. Bennett, therefore, rode the first winner on the first-ever spectator-less race day at Caymanas Park.
Half-an-hour later, it was the turn of perennial top-10 conditioner Patrick Lynch to have only his second win of the season as Contractor (Dane Nelson) outstayed rivals in a four-length romp. With Bala Gris (Dane Dawkins), fresh from a six-month hiatus, producing a strong finish on the far rails, Lynch made amends for his slow 2020 start with this double to control the hour reserved for races two and three.
With seven wins, breeder/owner/trainer Carl Anderson’s good first-quarter form continued when his Lord of Ajahlon won the 1600-metre Maiden Condition fourth event guided by promising apprentice Oshane Nugent.
Speaking of promise, champion Christopher Mamdeen, settling down after a lengthy suspension, made virtually all with second-generation trainer Michael Marlowe’s Heiroffire in the 10th and closing event.
The first of two wins for vacationing Barbadian native Simon Husbands came when the Lance Richards — conditioned Locomotive overpowered his nearest rival by five lengths. The veteran reinsman had also ridden the five-year-old gelding to victory in April 2019.
More importantly, on the day for Husbands was the second impressive gallop by Classic aspirant Double Crown to remain undefeated.
Trainer Ian Parsard must have been pleased with the far-striding son of Bellamy Road clocking 1:33.2 over 1,500 metres in the seventh event on a slow track. With regular improvement and with no unfortunate intervention, this gelding will be competitive in the 2020 Futurities and Parsard has every right to be in optimistic mode.
Apprentice Daniel Satchell, who should be afforded more opportunities, won the 1,100-metre sixth event with Ryan Darby’s Elal. Running from post position 14, the five-year-old gelding was outsprinted to the top of the home stretch but under expert handling of the whip and reins and having to change course as well, Satchell’s skill was compensated with victory in the final stride.
Champion trainer Anthony Nunes continues to saddle winners with the regularity befitting an equine establishment with such enviable impressive depth and talent.
Shane Ellis had to work hard aboard Nunes’ Let Him Fly to win the 1300-metre Maiden Condition eighth, but there was no such requirement for Linton Steadman who rode the champion conditioner’s Toona Ciliata in the ninth and feature event on the day, the King’s Plate.
Old rival Sentient (Christopher Mamdeen), who finished behind Toona Ciliata in last year’s Superstakes and Diamond Mile, having won his previous three races, was expected to test Nunes’ charge on this occasion. No such challenge materialised as Toona Ciliata was always travelling best from a long way out and even allowed Steadman the luxury of stealing glances behind in the final 200 metres, scoring comfortably by over two lengths.