THE ASSESSMENT – race day of Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Black River - Samantha Fletcher
Black River - Samantha Fletcher

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Before reviewing the races, the Racing Office cannot escape criticism for non-recognition of the time of year when the available sunlight is not necessarily adequate beyond 5:00 pm. Post time for the closing event was set at 5:35 pm and the race sent off close to 6:00 pm thus ensuring, following the settling of bets, the motoring customers left the racetrack with glowing headlights, necessary for safe driving, activated.

With no trophy slated for presentation, the 1200-metre non-restricted Overnight Allowance 10th event was the feature on the 10-race midweek promotion. Progressive sprinter Make Up Artist, returning from a dismal attempt to make all over 1500 metres in her last appearance five weeks earlier, reported in improved fashion for her second appearance at this level.

Lightly raced 4/5 favourite Solid Approach, a consistent performer with four races won and being unplaced only once in 12 appearances, ran as though something was amiss and finished last but one, but not so Make Up Artist (9/2). Turned out in invincible form by Jason DaCosta, the flying four-year-old bay had her field in trouble early and was always clear for a near six-length romp.

Joint champion and current leading reinsman Anthony Thomas closed a three-timer to improve his season from 84 to 87 winners this season while Make Up Artist, from his assistance only, moves on to five impressive successes from six declarations.

Thomas’ first winner was on Papa Albert (1/2) in the 1,000 metres round third event for trainer Steven Todd’s second of the afternoon.

The ultra-talented Thomas then had a particular piece of good fortune when his mount, General Muburaak (6/1), trained by Steven Todd for triple success by his the stable, was promoted to first. Errant winner Congrats Suckie (Jerome Innis replacement for Linton Steadman) was disqualified from first-by-the-post status in the day’s sixth even run over 1,200 metres. In fact, it was claiming jockey Hakeem Pottinger, having only his 10th opportunity this season, producing 27/1 shot Sweet Renisha with well an effectively timed late effort in the 1,600-metre second event that secured the first of the Todd triple.

Meanwhile, jockey turned trainer Phillip Elliot had his first win from 41 starts this year with the assistance of reigning champion apprentice Oshane Nugent guiding his maiden filly Tina’s Account (8/5) to victory in the 1,000-metre straight event. Nugent added a second when Daddy Jones, conditioned by Richard Azan, turned in a machine-like performance to dominate the 1,600-metre gallop of the day’s seventh by nearly seven lengths.

Trained by Christopher Pearson, speedy maiden Rocket Lily (9/5) duly outsprinted 10 rivals to release her maiden tag in the 1,000-metre straight eighth event piloted by former six-time champion Omar Walker who took over as the best rider over the distance since the retirement of Charles Hussey.  In the ninth event over 1,000 metres straight, United States-bred maiden Taurus Boy (9/2), schooled by former 13-time champion Philip Feanny, was convincing in a close late sprint effort to secure victory by a half a length for apprentice Shane Richardson.

The Training Feat Award is presented to Richard Azan for the performance of Daddy Jones (7/2), who takes the Best Winning Gallop accolade. With the blinkers now refitted for the first time since October last year with nine races intervening, the normally sluggish four-year-old grey colt, who in his career to date prefers to run with backmarkers early, was transformed almost miraculously into spectacular frontrunner. It is instructive to note, the field had several rivals capable of similar tactics.

Shane Richardson now has his first Jockeyship Award for his confident display aboard Taurus Boy with Thomas, Walker and Dick Cardenas, with ten riding titles between them, less than two lengths behind combined sharing the minor places in that order.

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