KINGSTON, Jamaica - Although Huntsman, a three-year-old chestnut colt, is being pointed towards the Jamaica St Leger Classic, trainer Ian Parsard stated that the main goal for his charge is the Jamaica Derby on August 6.
After missing the Jamaica 2000 Guineas, the season’s first Classic race for colts and geldings earlier this month for a period of rehabilitation, Huntsman returned for his third career run in the on Mr Lover Lover Trophy on Sunday, June 18, 2023.
Huntsman by Key To Power out of Dream Point) controlled the race from start to finish, winning the native-bred three-year-old (non-winners of two) and imported three-year-old and upwards (maidens) at 9 furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m) by a commanding 16 lengths without breaking a sweat, in a time of 1:58.2 (27.3 x 53.1 x 1:17.2 x 1:43.2).
“Honestly, I didn’t think he [Huntsman] had a realistic chance against Mojito in the Guineas. I think Mojito is way ahead of the three-year-old crop, quite frankly, and I think coming out of the chute we wouldn’t have had much of a chance,” Parsard said.
“He is making good steady progress; it’s a little hard to tell because there wasn’t a lot of competition and he was able to dictate this race, but in the Classic races he won’t have that luxury, so hopefully we will just see if he can progress from here.
“If he comes out of this well, then we will shoot for the St Leger, but the main objective is the Derby. The St Leger is possible, as we are going to check and see how he comes out of this race, and I think going the 10-furlong experience would be good for him,” Parsard added.
Huntsman got off to a good start, with jockey Reyan Lewis keeping the Ian Parsard trainee slightly outside of Burlap (Dane Dawkins) through the clubhouse turn before taking control of the race entering the main track.
Huntsman maintained his steady run ahead of the field down the backstretch, and as he approached the half-mile (800m) turn, he continued to open up on the field. The writing was already on the wall at that point during the race as Huntsman appeared to be a lonely winner.
Turning for home with a commanding lead and a couple of cracks from Lewis’s whip to remind him that the race wasn’t over, Huntsman began to accelerate and surge home to win by a city block. Burlap held his gallop well to finish in second place, with From Sheer To Ben (Anthony Thomas) getting third place.
“A win is always good. I think the win is good enough, although it is always hard to tell on the track, which I think is a little dry, so 1:58.2 is okay. He still has a lot of work to do to catch up with the big horse [Mojito], unfortunately. But we have to keep going for a second win for him, and we just take it one step at a time.
“We have to be a little bit gingerly with this horse as he has some issues and so we decided to take our chances coming two turns, so we will see. At least he won here, so we will keep going,” Parsard said.