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PERFECT NEIGHBOUR - 'Chief' to take command in rich Superstakes

Published:Saturday | November 8, 2014 | 11:00 AM
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR - File
TYPEWRITER (left), with Shane Ellis aboard, and Paul 'Country' Francis-ridden COMMANDING CHIEF battle out the finish in the Talawah Superstakes on Saturday, November 9, last year. Both horses, along with PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, are the main contenders for today's Post to Post Superstakes. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer
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Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer

All roads lead to Caymanas Park today for 'Superday 36', a well-supported 11-race programme featuring the $4.5 million Post to Post Superstakes 2000 metres, to be contested by 11 native-bred horses.

Included in the line-up are last year's winner, TYPEWRITER, to be ridden, as usual, by Shane Ellis for trainer Spencer Chung, 2013 runner-up PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, with Shamaree Muir riding for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta (who is yet to win a Superstakes) and the season's top distance horse, COMMANDING CHIEF, with champion jockey Dane Nelson riding for trainer Everal Francis.

They represent the big three and, from all indications, the winner will come from this trio - all proven grade-one distance horses.

Unusual

An interesting entry is FRANFIELD, the only three-year-old in the field, which is quite unusual for the Superstakes, three-year-olds having won this race on numerous occasions since its inception in 1978.

The chestnut colt, by Traditional out of the Royal Minister mare, Supa Lei, will be ridden by four-time champion Omar Walker for leading Superstakes-winning trainer, Richard Azan, who seeks his ninth victory in this rich and prestigious race following DORVAL (1995), MENUDO, who won four straight, 1999 to 2002, and MARK MY WORD, who won three in a row 2010 to 2012.

Though apparently lacking the class of the three principals, FRANFIELD has gone from strength to strength in winning three of his last five races and given the Azan factor, could run surprisingly well to be thereabouts at the finish.

On past performances, the race should be decided among the trio of COMMANDING CHIEF, TYPEWRITER and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR.

With COMMANDING CHIEF having beaten his two main rivals twice this season, he should start a firm favourite to win his first Superstakes after three previous attempts.

He was beaten into second place by PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the Governor General's Stakes on October 11, renew rivalry on level terms, with 57.0kg. It is unlikely PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, though working well, can under these conditions.

Everything points to COMMANDING CHIEF, a
relentless galloper with good battling qualities. This was displayed in
the Prime Minister's Stakes, August 6, when rallying strongly under a
powerful ride from Nelson to beat PERFECT NEIGHBOUR by a short head in a
thrilling finish.

According to trainer Everal
Francis, his time has come.

"Commanding Chief is a
different horse this year, winning his first three races from four
starts. When he lost to Perfect Neighbour some weeks ago, Nelson, his
favourite rider, fell ill earlier in the day and was unable to ride him.
I believe Dane knows the horse better than his replacement rider,
Walker, and this contributed to his defeat," explained the
trainer.

"Now, with Nelson back in the saddle, I
believe I can take it, at last," he was quick to
add.

Also on the card is the 26th running of the Tutti
Frutti Caribbean Sprint Championship, a purse of $1.75 million, to be
contested by 12 starters, including top contenders POTCHEEN, BUBBLING
ANGELINE, TALENTED TONY K and WILLIE GOLDSMITH, a race which could go
down to the wire.

The speedy three-y-o filly, BUBBLING
ANGELINE (Percy Williams up), from Philip Feanny stables, bids for her
fourth consecutive win and should stave off top grade-one sprinter
POTCHEEN.

Take ALACRANN to win the HAM Stables
Juvenile Sprint, the American horse PETE'SWILDONE in the CTL
Invitational Mile, BOY WONDER to repeat in the sixth and ST. BERNARD to
go one better in the ninth.