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Top contenders prepping for Guineas at Caymanas Park

Published:Saturday | March 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMOrville Clarke
***(CROP JOCKEY AND HORSE ONLY)****COME DANCE WITH ME with Percy Williams aboard after winning the Cash Pot 'Only one for me' trophy race at Caymanas Park last October.

With the season's first classics - the 1000 and 2000 Guineas - only a fortnight away, the top contenders make their seasonal debut in separate prep races at Caymanas Park today.

The speedy filly COME DANCE WITH ME will contest the third race over 1300 metres and stable companion ALACRANN making his bow in the ninth race over 1200 metres for overnight allowance horses. Both will be ridden by champion jockey Dane Nelson for in-form trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes.

Depending on how they fare today, both could well start favourites for the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas over a mile on April 4 and 6, respectively.

Significantly, COME DANCE WITH ME, who was third to ALACRANN in the Supreme Ventures Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over a mile when last raced on Boxing Day, will come face to face with the Wayne DaCosta-trained colt, ALI BABA, who is unbeaten in two starts this season and is a strong contender for the 2000 Guineas. All have looked sharp at exercise.

It is interesting to note that Nunes elected to bypass last Saturday's Prince Consort Stakes (Guineas Trial) over 1400 metres with ALACRANN in preference to this race. One would assume that the Prince Consort would have been a more suitable prep for ALACRANN, but the trainer had the classy SIEMPRE BUENO pencilled in for that race and the son of Market Rally-La Reina made no mistake with a fast-time victory.

ALACRANN, who ran on strongly to beat ALI BABA and COME DANCE WITH ME quite convincingly in the $4.25 million Supreme Ventures Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes last Boxing Day, will not find this trip too sharp and having impressed at exercise on Sunday morning when galloping five furlongs in 1:00.2 (bullet work), alongside COME DANCE WITH ME who finished heads on with him, is fit and ready for all comers.

The three-year-old son of Traditional-Maria's Appeal has apparently trained on nicely from two to three and although facing some seasoned overnight allowance horses such ROCK UNION, EDISON, DOUBLE THE HONEY, RED FLAG and THE GUV in this sprint, could well be a cut above these horses. He will not be easily denied with only 53.0kg from a favourable outside draw.

ALACRANN packs a wicked turn of foot and should lead home stable-companion ROCK UNION and RED FLAG in a field of 13.

In the third race, COME DANCE WITH ME and ALI BABA should have an interesting tussle for top honours in a field of seven and while the filly will have to be caught, ALI BABA has come on so much this season, thanks to back-to-back fast-time wins over 1500 metres, that he gets the nod with in-form Robert Halledeen aboard. It's a classic case of the promising colt getting the better of the good filly.

Other firm fancies on the card are the speedy three-year-old colt ROYAL ASSAULT to rebound in the second race over 1100 metres, TEISHA'S DREAM, an unlucky loser last time out (dislodged rider last 50 metres) to rebound in the fourth race for maiden four-year-old and up fillies; down in class PRINCE ANDREW to romp the seventh; and WINESHA to win the eighth over the straight.