Perfect Neighbour takes feature
Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The 2013 derby and St. Leger winner PERFECT NEIGHBOUR turned the tables on arch-rival COMMANDING CHIEF at Caymanas Park yesterday, handing the in-form six-year-old gelding his first defeat in four starts this season in the 55th running of the Governor General's Stakes over 2000 metres.
When both horses previously met in the Prime Minister's Stakes over the same distance on August 6, COMMANDING CHIEF, under champion jockey Dane Nelson, turned in a gutsy display under topweight of 57.0k to nose out the lightly weighted PERFECT NEIGHBOUR with top apprentice Shamaree Muir in a thrilling finish.
But yesterday, the Wayne DaCosta-trained PERFECT NEIGHBOUR gained his revenge on identical terms with Muir back in the saddle, this as the 3-5 favourite.
COMMANDING CHIEF, allowing 5.0kg to his opponent once again, went down fighting as the even-money second favourite, this time with former champion jockey Omar Walker coming in as a late replacement for customary rider Nelson, who complained of feeling ill after honouring the first of his seven rides on the card.
Prominently placed in third at the halfway stage, EXOTIC GOLD, under leading jockey Dick Cardenas, led narrowly from COMMANDING CHIEF, who took over from the half mile. PERFECT NEIGHBOUR mounted his challenge entering the straight and soon gained his ascendancy to beat him by 1-1/2 lengths, winning the race for the second consecutive year in the process.
A 4-y-o colt by Natural Selection out of the Ghost Ransom mare Desperatehousewife, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR is co-owned by Alfred Lee and Jeffrey Moredcai and bred by the Y.S. 1955 Limited. This was his ninth win from 20 career starts with total stakes of $14.6 million.
DaCosta emerged the day's top performer with three winners in PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, ALSO CORRECT and the smart two-year-old debutant POLLY B, while Cardenas, Shane Ellis and Omar Walker rode two winners each.