Mr Luval to rebound in feature
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
MR LUVAL, now dropped in class, should win the annual renewal of the City of Kingston Centenary Cup high-claiming feature over a mile at Caymanas Park today.
The race has attracted 12 starters, including MR LUVAL, STRIKING DISTANCE and ALSO CORRECT from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta.
All three should prove competitive, along with Dane Nelson's mount, STOP A GAP, from the in-form stables of Anthony 'Baba' Nunes. However, MR LUVAL has so much in his favour today that he is a firm fancy.
A proven campaigner at this level, the five-year-old grey gelding, He'stherealthing out of Thankuluval, is coming off back-to-back unplaced efforts in open allowance company, but had beaten a good field of overnight allowance horses at 1,500 metres, October 25. Runner-up DEO VOLENTE boosted the form by winning his subsequent race, on December 27.
On October 20, MR LUVAL beat another subsequent winner, SIR FREDERICK, over a mile. However, the performance that makes him a good thing was, ironically, in defeat.
MR LUVAL closed well over this trip to finish three and a half lengths fourth to grade-one winner PETE'SWILDONE in the valuable Caymanas Invitational Mile on November 8, slowly into stride in a fast-run race.
Having been kept on the move at exercise and looking fit and ready for today's encounter, MR LUVAL, now dropped two classes, should prove too strong for recent course winner STRIKING DISTANCE, now thrown in for a tag by DaCosta, and STOP A GAP (working well).
Robert Halledeen, who, in recent months has established himself as a go-to rider, will have the leg over MR LUVAL.
Elsewhere on the nine-race programme which offers carryovers in the Pick-9 ($1.1m) and both Super-6s, BOY WONDER, the progressive four-year-old colt, unbeaten in his last four starts, should have little difficulty in extending his streak when he takes on five opponents in the open allowance race over 1,300 metres.
Harry Parsard-trained BOY WONDER has been winning impressively in fast times and, even with BORDER LINE and CAMPESINO expected to prove competitive, BOY WONDER (Omar Walker up) ought to be followed in his meteoric rise to the top.
Other firm fancies on the card are fleet-footed SMOKEY TOPAZ in the second race, POLLY B in the first, NATASHADONTPLAY in the third and Parsard's COUNTRY TRAIN in the ninth and final over the straight.