KINGSTON, Jamaica - FEATURED on the 10-race card was this year’s renewal of the 1,200-metre None Such Sprint. Blessed with tremendous speed, courage, and stamina, None Such was undefeated at two years and was rated in the top class — a feat not many locally bred horses can claim. None Such was also undefeated in his first eight races and was voted the 1967 Horse of the Year for his weight-defying performances in the top class.
Saturday’s line-up included top-rated sprinter Mahogany (Dane Dawkins), conditioned by Ian Parsard and backed to the tune of 1-9 favourite. In this field, conceding upwards of three kilogrammes always hold out the possibility that at least one other horse with the lighter weight can come good and inflict defeat.
US-bred I Am Fred (8-1) proved to be the special one as in saddling his third winner on the card, title-chasing Jason DaCosta had a pace maker in the form of speedy five-year-old mare Make Up Artist. Earlier on the card, the second-generation trainer combined with champion Anthony Thomas for the 1000 metre-round second race for juveniles with Thalita (2-5), and for the seventh over a similar distance with US importee Madelyn’s Sunshine (Anthony Thomas).
Mahogany, therefore, had to sprint at top pace with Make Up Artist over the first 800 metres (22.0 x 45.0) before straightening in front. Christopher Mamdeen, the 2019 champion, worked I Am Fred into third 500 metres out to go in pursuit of the pacemakers who were still galloping as if glued together. In the home stretch, Mamdeen’s decision to challenge on the inside rails was decisive and Dawkins could not respond to this risky but tactically brilliant move. Once on terms entering the last 200 metres, I Am Fred benefited from the above-average athletic ability of Mamdeen to squeeze out the advantage of a short head at the line.
Storming (16/1), ridden by veteran Oneil Mullings, won the 800-metre opening event for the in-form Ryan Darby barn.
Following the result of the third, there was an even-money favourite in the winners’ enclosure in the form of maiden Secret Emperor — bred, owned, and trained by Carl Anderson. This proved to be the first of two on the day for top-flight jockey Shane Ellis.
For his double, Ellis, in the eighth event run over 1000 metres straight, was motionless throughout aboard Thalos (3-5) for the first of two wins for champion trainer Anthony Nunes.
Bern Notice (Tevin foster) was Nunes’ second, going off the favourite at 8-5 and dominating the closing event with a 14-length romp over 1500 metres.
Elsewhere on the card, Buzz Assault (Odeen Edwards), owned and trained by Patrick Smellie, won the 1300-metre fourth race at odds of 7-2 while long-serving trainer Errol Subratie saddled recent acquisition Unruly Boss (Aaron Chatrie) to score in the fifth over 1000 metres straight, returning odds of 9-2.
Claiming jockey Roger Hewitt was astride 7-2 shot Lazer Light, saddled by Steven Todd, to win the 1400-metre sixth event.
The Training Feat Award is presented to DaCosta for the return to form of I Am Fred who was 10 lengths adrift Mahogany when they competed last July. This is undoubtedly the Best Winning Gallop and Mamdeen’s tactical and athletic performance gives him the Jockeyship Award.