KINGSTON, Jamaica – If the way in which Vincent Atkinson gave notice of his prowess as a trainer in Jamaica and the confidence he exuded after are anything to go by, then racing fans will be in for a treat.
Atkinson had a memorable day in his local career last Saturday when he connected twice, first with 6-1 chance Chace The Great and then 26-1 outsider Danny Spud, in the last two events on the 11-race card.
His other starters, Wifey Sez So and Sensational Satin, also turned in creditable performances, placing fourth and second.
Atkinson expressed sheer delight about the achievement while making his intentions known.
“I am thrilled that I got my first set of winners to break the ice; unfortunately, it was three, but it’s racing, so you take what is given to you. This is something that most people can’t accomplish first time out, but when the Almighty says it is your time, nobody can change it,” Atkinson said.
“It is a good feeling, and it would be a nice thing if the winners continue to come. I am just letting them [the fans] know that whenever I come out with my horses, I am always trying, whether it is 1-9 or 99-1, I am always trying,” he declared.
Many may know Atkinson as an owner-turned-trainer, but the veteran horseman is no stranger to conditioning horses, having done so in the United States since 1994, before recently retiring.
But as fate would have it, he was led to take up the mantle here, after Dwight Chen, who trained Chace The Great and others for Atkinson, decided to take a break from the sport.
“After retirement, I came home and was going back and forth until a trainer that I truly believe in and acknowledged as an outstanding individual, Dwight Chen, decided to move on. So I stepped in and took over my horses,” Atkinson explained.
“I retired and came back home looking forward to enjoying what I love [horse racing] as a hobby.
“But as a horseman, it is tough to take it as a hobby because you know the required details in this business,” he added.
Though pleased with both winners’ efforts, Atkinson said that it was the performance of his seven-year-old chestnut gelding Chace The Great that was the highlight.
“Danny Spud’s run was nice, but it is just another win. I can’t consider him going anywhere just yet, so we will see where he goes from here. But when an old horse wins, you have to respect that, and at seven years old, he [Chace The Great] shows that he still has a little fight in him, so we have to respect that and cherish it.
“As we go forward, I don’t want to say expect great things because only the Almighty can dictate great things, but I will say this, it will be an interesting year,” Atkinson said.