Alacrann to reign Supreme today
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The $10.8 million Supreme Ventures Triple Crown series concludes at Caymanas Park today with the 103rd running of the $4.25 million Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over 1,600 to be contested by nine starters, including the stretch-running ALACRANN who seems best equipped to win at a mile.
The three-race series which commenced on October 20 (Heroes Day) with the $2.95 million Cash Pot 'Only One For Me' Trophy over 1,200 metres, saw the speedy COME DANCE WITH ME from the Dwight Chen stables easily justifying favouritism to beat ALACRANN by three lengths.
When both youngsters met again on November 29 in race two of the series, the $3.6 million Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1,400 metres, the Anthony Nunes ALACRANN turned the tables, closing rapidly in the last furlong to win by 2-1/2 lengths from DREAMCOMETRUE with 4-5 favourite COME DANCE WITH ME fading into third.
For today's championship race, all eyes will be focused on the three principals - ALACRANN, COME DANCE WITH ME and the Wayne DaCosta-trained POLLY B, who, though highly fancied for the Pick-3 Challenge, could only manage fifth after a prolonged speed duel with COME DANCE WITH ME which took its toll on both.
All three have worked well for today's encounter and significantly will have the services of different riders.
Returning champion Dane Nelson switches from COME DANCE WITH ME to ALACRANN replacing Andre Martin, Shane Ellis has been called up to ride the Howard Hamilton-owned COME DANCE WITH ME, while Robert Halledeen has the leg over POLLY B, replacing former champion Dick Cardenas who left Jamaica a fortnight ago following a six-year stint.
Hamilton, with $13.8 million, is locked in a keen contest with two-time champion Elite Bloodstock Limited and defending champion Carlton Watson for the 2014 owners' title and victory for COME DANCE WITH ME in this rich and prestigious race could enable him to win his third championship in the last 10 years.
With COME DANCE WITH ME and POLLY B drawn alongside each other, they should engage each other in another speed duel. Being natural front runners, neither will want the other to dictate the fractions. With the likelihood of that not happening, they should play into the hands of the late-charging ALACRANN, who will just love the additional furlong of this race.
The chestnut colt by Traditional out of Maria's Appeal looked real sharp at exercise last Saturday morning when galloping six furlongs in 1:14.1, and with Nelson riding in such brilliant form, ALACRANN should prove too strong for COME DANCE WITH ME and POLLY B in the last furlong.
Harry Jackson Memorial
Supporting feature on the 11-race programme, the 52nd running of the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup grade one race over 2,400 metres, brings together the top three stayers In the country - TYPEWRITER, COMMANDING CHEF and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in a field of six.
The Spencer Chug-trained TYPEWRITER will not be easily denied, having turned in the performance of the year on November 8 when slamming PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and the then favourite COMMANDING CHIEF in the mile and quarter Superstakes, winning by 9 1/2 lengths with customary rider Shane Ellis aboard.
The classy five-year-old gelding subsequently finished fifth under topweight to the lightly weighted POTCHEEN in the Gold Cup, but found the distance (1,400m) on the sharp side. Having worked very well in preparation for this trophy, TYPEWRITER resumed winning ways and crowned himself 'Horse of the Year'.
Other firm fancies on the card are BIG BAD LINKS, to rebound in the first race, KRONUS in the second, WOMAN IS BOSS to repeat in the eighth, and RAJA SARANGI in the ninth.