Deo Volente for claiming feature
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
High claimers ($550,000-$500,000) should take the spotlight at Caymanas Park today in the eighth race over 1500 metres in which the down-in-class DEO VOLENTE, from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, is poised to resume winning ways.
The consistent five-year-old gelding by War Marshall out of Did We Win comes into the race with appealing form, having won weeks ago, and afterwards was narrowly beaten by stable-companion MR LUVAL over this trip on October 25 in overnight company.
Prior to that, DEO VOLENTE beat subsequent winners STOP A GAP and CLASSIC BEAU by three lengths over 1400 metres, on September 10. He caught the eye at exercise a week ago when galloping 51/2-furlongs in 1:09.2, and will prove hard to beat with 53.0kg and title-chasing Dick Cardenas aboard.
A fit DEO VOLENTE is basically better than high-claiming company and despite the claims of recent winners SIR FREDERICK and the bold front-runner CLASSIC BEAU, the ante-post favourite should prevail at this level.
Sharing the spotlight on the nine-race programme is the annual renewal of the Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup two-year-old maiden special race to be contested by six starters over 1400 metres. Top contenders are MERLIN (Omar Walker), HOUDINI'S MAGIC (Shane Ellis), SCAR (Richard Mairs) and COMPUTERIZE (Orayne Sewell).
The Edward Walker-trained MERLIN, who ran encouragingly for third on his recent debut, has been administered Lasix for the first time and with an in-form jockey now slated, should win from HOUDINI'S MAGIC (Nelson up) and SCAR.
DI COBRE, running from the convenient mark of 52.0kg, with top apprentice O'Brien White aboard, should lead home the front-running SHE'S SO SPECIAL and ROLEX in the third race over 1200 metres, to be contested by six starters. The Ryan Darby-trained DI COBRE has been fairly consistent and is fancied to win in this small field.
Other firm fancies are the speedy BATTLE SONG (Nelson up) to release the maiden certificate in the fourth race for maiden three-year fillies over the straight, PHALAENOPSIS to repeat with Shane Ellis again in the saddle in the seventh race and SUNDOWN (Walker up) to outfinish SONG OF FREEDOM and HOGANS HERO in the sixth over 1400 metres for $180,000 claiming horses.