Potcheen's Gold Cup
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The island's top horses will contest the 43rd running of the Wassy Bike Gold Cup over 1400 metres at Caymanas Park today, and what a race it promises to be.
Offering a total purse of $1.5 million, the race is sponsored for the first time by Alex's Import Limited.
Included in the 14-strong field are the recent Superstakes winner TYPEWRITER, who shoulders topweight of 57.0kg with big-race jockey Shane Ellis again in the saddle; the 2013 Derby winner PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who was third in the Superstakes; the November 8 Caribbean Sprint Champion POTCHEEN; the Caymanas Invitational Mile winner PETE'SWILDONE, his versatile stable companion, UPPA TUNE; as well as this year's 2000 Guineas and Lotto Classic winner TALENTED TONY K and another high-profile three-year-old colt, FRANFIELD, who ran well for fourth in the November 8 Superstakes.
A notable absentee is last year's winner COMMANDING CHIEF, who has not been himself since disappointing as the favourite in the Superstakes, having missed exercise a number of days.
Despite his absence, it's a race worth going miles to see, this pitting the best of the sprinters against the top stayers, a situation which makes this popular grade one race so unique.
Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is strongly represented by PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, EXOTIC GOLD, ALL CORRECT and the speedy American horse FORTUNEONEHUNDRED, who will coming to make things pretty hot.
With other noted front-runners such as the Lorne Kirlew-trained TALENTED TONY K, UPPA TUNE, CRUCIAL APPEAL, TRADITIONAL PRINCE and CAMPESINO also there to ensure a blistering pace, I believe it will come back rapidly to the closers in the last furlong.
Indeed, the three most adept to win a race of this nature are the 'class horse' TYPEWRITER from the Spencer Chung stables and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, neither of which will find the distance too short, and the one I like best POTCHEEN, who looks tempting at the weights with only 50.0kg.
One of three horses from the stables of Robert Pearson in the line-up, along with PETE'SWILDONE and UPPA TUNE, POTCHEEN overcame a poor draw at post position one in the Caribbean Sprint to win the race in a blanket finish from ALL CORRECT and CRUCIAL APPEAL.
The five-year-old bay gelding by Traditional out of Bubble Gum Hottie experienced grave traffic problems approaching the half mile and came from a seemingly hopeless position a furlong out to win. He finished like a runaway train under four-time champion jockey Omar Walker, getting up in the nick of time to win by a short head with 57.0kg.
POTCHEEN has established himself as a true 'A1' horse, having won two races in the top class this season. He is still very much at home over the longer distance (won over same on March 29 ahead of Blast Them Away) and he looks the pick at the weights with TYPEWRITER having depressed the scales as the top rated horse in the country.