Raja Sarangi for JRTA Trophy
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
TODAY is Racehorse Trainers' Association Day at Caymanas Park, the nine-race programme featuring the annual renewal of the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Association Trophy (JRTA) race over 1200 metres to be contested by 10 native-bred three-year-olds (non-winners of three).
The card also features the second running of the three-year-old and up and overnight allowance race over 1500 metres for the Seymour 'Foggy' Mullings Memorial Trophy, in which eight have been declared, including top contenders SCOOP JORDYNE, TIMEFORARMS and ROYAL VIBES, one of four entries from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta.
In the JRTA Trophy, RAJA SARANGI, to be ridden by Shane Ellis for trainer Howard Jaghai, is expected to start favourite and despite the good claims of the Lee Clarke-trained SEMPER FIDELIS under former champion Omar Walker and the lightly raced but improving LUCAS THE LION, should justify the support.
RAJA SARANGI ran poorly as the 4-5 favourite behind DAMOS LA PAZ over 1400 metres last time out, but that performance was too bad to be true and something apparently went amiss.
Since then, the three-year-old bay gelding by Adore The Gold out of Ecstatic has worked well, galloping five furlongs in a brisk 1:01.1 last Sunday morning. He has been fitted with the blinkers for this race as well and with not much genuine speed present, only needs a clean break from the number two post position to assume an early lead over SEMPER FIDELIS and DR DEAREST.
RAJA SARANGI can expect stiff competition from SEMPER FIDELIS, who finished a good second to WOMAN IS BOSS over 1100 metres when last raced in August. But RAJA SARANGI strikes me as that much sharper at present. He finished two lengths third to ZACKONTHEATTACK and LADY SHANKAI over this trip on November 8 and with both having boosted the form by winning since, RAJA SARANGI should follow suit at the expense of SEMPER FIDELIS and LUCAS THE LION.
As is customary each year, the Vin Edwards-led JRTA honours four of its members during their annual race day. They are veteran trainer Errol Subratie, father of top line trainer Gary Subratie; Eraldo Fullerton, who saddled RANSOM MAN to win the 2006 Jamaica Derby; Fernando Geddes; and Kingsley Davis.
Trophy races bearing the name of each trainer will be run in their honour and each will be presented with awards by the JRTA inside the winners' enclosure.
Other firm fancies on the card are SCOOP JORDYNE (pick of the weights) in the Seymour 'Foggy' Mullings Memorial Cup, AUNT HIDA (little to beat) in the second race, LOCKED AND LOADED in the fifth, PATCH A FIRE in the sixth, and SAINT MARY to complete the hat-trick in the ninth and final race.