Shebiz, Meru favoured for trophy events
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Only eight races will be run at Caymanas Park today, two offering trophies. These are the annual renewal of the Cecil C. Charlton Memorial Trophy over 1300 metres (high claiming) to be contested by seven starters and the 3-y-o and up restricted allowance (non winners of two) for the Flossie McNeil Memorial Cup over 1200 metres.
Of the 11 starters declared for the Flossie McNeil Memorial, three were winners last time out - RAY RAY, DR DEAREST and the lightly raced but improving filly, SHEBIZ, with Paul 'Country' Francis again in the saddle.
DR DEAREST didn't beat much when releasing the maiden certificate over 1500 metres on October 20 and it will more than likely come down to SHEBIZ and RAY RAY.
RAY RAY ran on strongly to beat HAILEY'S COMET by a length over this trip on August 2 and although her time of 1:16.0 was nothing to shout about, trainer Fitzgerald Richards has her in good nick for this race and she will only go down fighting from the handy mark of 53.0kg and Devon 'Papa' Thomas aboard.
Still, preference is for SHEBIZ, who looked improved on her second outing on September 28 when storming through approaching the distance to beat subsequent winner LUCAS THE LION by 3 3/4 lengths over 1100 metres, in the fairly good time of 1:08.4.
The 3-y-o chestnut filly from the stables of Everal Francis will report even better for this race and having secured a perfect draw on the outside at post position 11, will not be easily denied with 54.0kg.
The Cecil C. Charlton Memorial Trophy should come down to a straight fight between the recent course winner MERU and the down in class EASTWOOD, to be ridden by champion jockey Dane Nelson and four-time champion Omar Walker, respectively.
EASTWOOD is undoubtedly the more accomplished of the two and with trainer Gary Subratie dropping him from overnight company to high claiming, could supplement his April 19 victory over 1500 metres in overnight company.
I also like the speedy ETERNAL JOY to win the second race over 1200 metres, fleet-footed BRILLIANT ACE to stave off PRINCESS SHEMIKA in the third, OVATION to catch CHOSEN ONE in the fifth, and the sparingly raced PHALAENOPISIS in the sixth for maiden three-year-olds.