Commanding Chief to rule over GG Stakes
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Top distance horses COMMANDING CHIEF and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who were involved in a tight photo finish on August 6, the Prime Minister's Stakes, renew rivalry in today's Governor General's Stakes, grade one, feature at 2,000 metres at Caymanas Park.
The race has attracted six starters, including this year's derby and St Leger winner, REPLAMPAGO, now stepping up to open grade one company.
COMMANDING CHIEF and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR are such tough opponents that they should have the finish to themselves once again.
Both are prepping for the November 8 Superstakes, for which Everal Francis-trained COMMANDING CHIEF is the ante-post favourite by virtue of his unbeaten run (three wins) this season.
It went right down to the wire when they last met over the distance in the Prime Minister's Stakes on Independence Day, with topweight COMMANDING CHIEF responding to a powerful ride from champion jockey Dane Nelson to beat PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, under top apprentice Shamaree Muir, by a short head.
They renew rivalry on almost identical terms at the weights and it promises to be another intriguing contest for top honours.
Set to give the Wayne DaCosta-trained four-year-old colt PERFECT NEIGHBOUR 5.0kg once again, it should be extremely close between two horses who truly enjoy the distance. Going for COMMANDING CHIEF is his relentless pace and new found killer.
The six-year-old chestnut gelding, by War Marshall out of She Knows Beau, represents the class horse of the field. While the 2013 Derby and St Leger winner PERFECT NEIGHBOUR will be gunning for revenge in a bid to win this race for the second consecutive year, it could pay to stick with COMMANDING CHIEF, already the Superstakes ante-post favourite.
Elsewhere on the 10-race programme, the lightly-raced but talented four-year-old colt ROCK UNION (Shane Ellis up) is tipped to complete a hat-trick of wins in the competitive-looking overnight allowance race over the round five course.
Anthony Nunes-trained ROCK UNION left on a winning note, May 23, following an impressive win in the Labour Day Trophy, over 1,200 metres, clocking a fast time. Despite a four-month absence, ROCK UNION has been taken to task at exercise by Anthony 'Baba' Nunes and none will report fitter. He clearly has a touch of class and should win from well-trained BORDER LINE in a field of seven.
PERFECT GOLD should go one better at the expense of old rival MONDAY HILL in the opening race over 1,200 metres, for maiden four-year-olds and up. ALSO CORRECT to win the second, EPIC ZAR in the fourth, TASHARA to repeat in the sixth and SOON COME to catch front-running MEROVINGIAN QUEEN in the closing $180,0000 claiming race, over 1,400 metres.