KINGSTON, Jamaica – Two riders, one an apprentice and the next, the current champion dominated the 10-race program at Caymanas on Wednesday last, April 3, 2019.
Leading apprentice Christopher Mamdeen had his best day in the saddle with a four-timer, while champion Anthony Thomas was the conveyer of a triple.
Racing fans have over the years seen many apprentices start their careers with a loud band only to fizzle out as quickly as they arrived.
The names of Ramon Parish, Bebeto Harvey, Prince Holder, Shamaree Muir, Odeen Edwards and to a lesser extent Linton Steadman have all started their racing careers with winner after winner.
Then for a variety of reasons ranging from weight problems to personal issues have converged to halt the progress of the mentioned apprentices now fully fledged jockeys.
Mamdeen, Tevin Foster, Reyan Lewis, Kiaman McGregor, Daniel Satchell among others represent the latest batch of apprentices and the hope is that they will not suffer a similar fate as some of their predecessors.
Thomas just recently an apprentice, is already a champion, and although starting the defence of his title in very slow mode has continued to work in the mornings at exercise and is now reaping the rewards.
At present, six-time champion Omar Walker leads the jockeys’ table with 24 winners, Mamdeen is second after his four-timer with 21 winners with Dane Nelson on 16 while Thomas has moved from eighth to fifth on 14 winners.
Nelson has been finding it difficult of late to ride multiple winners on any single raceday, instead Nelson is riding a winner here and there. Yet, this has happened before with the "Warrior Chief" and he has always risen to overcome his difficulties.
On the thoroughbred side of local racing it is now a foreigner claiming all the attention.
Stranger Danger trained by champion Wayne DaCosta on Wednesday, made it five wins from five starts.
Racing over a mile with Omar Walker in the saddle for the first time and with the blinkers taken off for the first time, Stranger Danger was easy throughout but did not change his lead when required, yet he was still able to win by five lengths in a good time of 1:38.0.
Stranger Danger is obviously a talented race horse but he is yet to race against the cream of the local crop but he is getting there and quickly too.
Racing fans are in for some interesting times.