Nelson widens lead with four-timer
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Champion jockey Dane Nelson rode four winners at Caymanas Park on Wednesday to widen his lead over arch-rival Dick Cardenas in their private duel for the jockeys' championship with 11 race days remaining in 2014.
Nelson, popularly called the 'Warrior Chief' owing to his aggressive style of riding, opened his account in the very first race, the Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup maiden two-year-old race over 1,400 metres aboard 5-1 chance HOUDINI'S MAGIC for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes.
He followed up with 2-1 shot ROLEX for trainer Cashbert Khwalsingh in the third race, coming through on rails midway the last furlong to beat the 6-5 favourite and long-time leader SHE'S SO SPECIAL by a short head over 1,200 metres.
At this stage, Nelson had increased his tally to 92 wins, three clear of the 2011 champion Dick Cardenas. But he was not finished as yet. A Post-to-Post runaway win aboard 4-5 favourite BATTLE SONG for trainer Gary Griffiths and popular owner Andrew Azar in the fourth race for maidens over the straight and a narrow win aboard topweight EL NUMERO UNO at 3-1 in the closing straight five race completed what could be a match winning windstorm.
Nelson, however, could be in trouble with the stewards after his mount, FASTANDFLASHY (10-1) was disqualified after finishing third to the outsider DUTCHROW in the seventh race. This for causing interference to CRY OF THE POOR in the last furlong.
Nelson's season's tally
Nelson thus pushed his season's tally to 94 - four clear of Cardenas who managed only one winner on the nine-race programme. The quiet Panamanian won the eighth race for high claimers aboard 3-5 favourite DEO VOLENTE, the five-year-old gelding blowing past the leader PRINCE O'SHAUN (6-1) a furlong out and going on to beat him by 3-1/2 lengths over 1,500 metres.
The lightly-raced HOUDINI'S MAGIC got up in the nick of time to win the Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup for owner Derrick Brandt. Bred by Ruth Hussey, the 3-y-o son of Performing Magic out of Milestone was not the best away from the number two post position as the 1-5 favourite MERLIN led comfortably from SCAR in a field of six.
However, HOUDINI'S MAGIC challenged strongly between horses entering the straight and although hindered by SCAR at this stage, rallied strongly in deep stretch to catch and beat COMPUTERIZE (11-1) by half a length with MERLIN third.
Nunes posted a second winner on the card in the grey colt THE REAL DRAFT, who ran on strongly with Shane Ellis aboard to win the fifth race at odds of 5-1 from tearaway leader and 6-5 favourite BASIC INSTINCT with Cardenas aboard.