Alacrann to win 2000 Guineas in Easter Monday racing at Caymanas Park
The best of the three-year-old colts and geldings will hold centre stage at Caymanas Park today in the 41st running of the 2000 Guineas over 1,400 metres.
The 13-horse field includes big guns ALACRANN, stable companions SIEMPRE BUENO and ALI BABA, as well as POKER STAR, who won the Hot Line Stakes over 1,200 metres some weeks ago and was a fast-finishing second to SIEMPRE BUENO in the Prince Consort Guineas Trial Stakes over 1,400 metres on Mach 14.
It is interesting to note that champion trainer Wayne DaCosta and his arch-rival Anthony 'Baba' Nunes account for nine of the runners and in this scenario, the winner is almost sure to come from one of these camps. Nunes saddles as many as five - ALACRANN, with champion jockey Dane Nelson; SIEMPRE BUENO, to be ridden by many-time Canadian champion jockey Patrick Husbands, who hails from Barbados; as well as HOUDINI'S MAGIC (Clive Lynch up); ROYAL ASSAULT (Trevor Simpson); and BALLON D'OR (Aaron Chatrie).
DaCosta to counter
DaCosta, meanwhile, will counter with ALI BABA, under in-form Robert Halledeen; POKER STAR, with Florida-based Peruvian-born jockey Fernando Cruz aboard; SEEKING MY DREAM, to be ridden by big-race jockey Shane Ellis; and DRIPPING IN GOLD, with Shamaree Muir aboard.
Realistically, I narrow it down to four starters - ALACRANN, ALI BABA, SIEMPRE BUENO and POKER STAR.
ALACRANN emerged the champion two-year-old last season by virtue of beating ALI BABA by 31/4 lengths in the Supreme Ventures 2-Y-O Stakes over a mile last Boxing Day.
As a result of his Boxing Day win, ALACRANN established himself as the winter book favourite for the Guineas. But having bypassed the March 14 Prince Consort Guineas Trial, was forced to prep in an overnight allowance race over 1,200 metres on March 21, only to find the distance too short.
Outpaced in 10th position entering the straight, ALACRANN made rapid headway in the last furlong to finish a mere 11/4 lengths sixth to the speedy American horse DOUBLE THE HONEY. Nunes was not perturbed.
'pleased with the performance'
"I was very pleased with the performance," he said then. "He needed a race in preparation for the Guineas and now that much fitter and a mile ideal for him, I have very high hopes for him on Saturday."
Nunes added that SIEMPRE BUENO impressed in winning the recent Prince Consort Stakes and has worked brilliantly since, galloping six furlongs in a fast 1:12.4 last Tuesday morning. According to the trainer, SIEMPRE BUENO possesses both speed and class, a combination that could spell victory in a race of this nature.
Fourteen-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta said both ALI BABA and POKER STAR are in high spirits, especially the Winston Kong-owned ALI BABA, who has impressed in winning his three races this season, all in fast times.
Since finishing second to ALACRANN on Boxing Day, the chestnut colt by Fearless Vision out of Ahwhofah won back-to-back races over 1,500 metres, clocking a fast 1:31.1 in both. And he came back on March 21 to beat stable-companion DRIPPING IN GOLD quite easily over 1,300 metres in a fast 1:18.3.
Indeed, good arguments can be put across for the leading lights, but ALACRANN has come good on the big occasion in the past and looks the one best equipped to pull it off at a mile.
Other firm fancies on the card are BORDER LINE to catch RED FLAG in the Easter Sprint Cup overnight allowance race; TRAIL BLAZER in the third; SACHIN in the fifth; MR. AMBASSADOR in the sixth; and BARS OF GOLD in the closing race.