KINGSTON, Jamaica - In a race in which the 4-5 favourite Colour Me Tan, with an extraordinary faulty second stride, sent rider Anthony Thomas flying over its head, many form players may not have felt the full brunt of this mishap with Queen Deftiny (Matthew Bennett) winning for trainer Nicholas Smith.
Inside the last 200 of the 800-metre dash of the opener, the winner got into the path of second-placed Buckaluck (Dane Dawkins momentarily. This resulted in a Steward Inquiry of record length that was made more complicated by a jockey’s objection, but which was eventually overruled.
Gifted with the major slice of the purse, Classic aspirant Huntsman (Reyan Lewis) duly won the second event by 16 lengths. Schooled by Ian Parsard, the well-conformed colt got the ideal preparation for his next assignment which will be the 2,000-metre Jamaica St Leger. Huntsman cantered the 1,820 metres of today’s gallop in a time of 1:58.2 at odds of 1-9 and is improving quickly.
Huntsman was beaten 12 ½ lengths in the 1,500-metre The Kingston, the most important Classic trial by outstanding favourite Mojito. Still, this column predicts this margin will be reduced by more than half on St Leger day scheduled for July 1, 2023.
Huntsman was the first winner of a riding double for leading reinsman Reyan Lewis for him to be the first to tally 50 wins this season. To confirm his second success, the title-seeking Lewis was back in the winners’ enclosure with Philip Feanny’s US-bred Inspire Force (1-1) following the running of the 1,400-metre seventh. Given his favoured status in the outfit of champion conditioner Jason DaCosta, Lewis is highly touted to be a first-time champion this year.
Manaco (5-2), declared by veteran Adin Williams and partnered by Tevin Foster, won the day’s third event over 1,100 metres in a driving finish.
In race four, run at 1,600 metres, champion Dane Dawkins was aboard Casual Peach (9-5) for recently licensed conditioner Barrington Bernard’s second career winner and the jockey’s first of two on the day. The rider’s second was confirmed in the ninth and final with even money favourite Get A Pepsi, trained by Errol Burke, scoring by nearly four lengths at the end of the 1,400-metre exertion.
Neglected to the tune of 25-1 in race five over 1,400 metres, restricted to maidens of four years and upwards, four-kilo claiming jockey Jawara Steadman looked far more accomplished than is career tally suggests in guiding Diamond Rock to victory for trainer Courtney Williams’ second career success.
Former three-time champion Anthony Thomas had an improvement in fortune on the day. Although having had the scary experience of race one, his confidence was unaffected, and he was at his best over the 1,000-metre straight race six in partnering 9-2 shot Aava Jaelyn. Saddled by Donovan Thompson, the filly got her head in front with her final stride.
Thomas’ double was secured when three-year-old maiden filly Mrs Lyndhurst, schooled by Steven Todd, made all the running at 7-5 to score in race eight over 1,000 metres straight.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Courtney Williams for the Best Winning Gallop displayed by Diamond Rock, a colt whose margins of defeat in seven races since his debut on February 23 this year totalled 100 lengths. Jawara Steadman earns the Jockeyship Award as the success of Diamond Rock was owed in no small measure to the rider’s judgement of pace from in front, balance, correct use of whip hands (left and right), as well as the reins alone 50 metres out to win by a short head.