Puddy Pooh for Jamaica Oaks classic at Caymanas Park
THE unbeaten PUDDY POOH ought to be followed when she takes on 11 opponents in the 76th running of The McKay Security/B3-sponsored Jamaica Oaks over 2000 metres for native bred three-year-old fillies at Caymanas Park today. At stake are the Hilma Veira Trophy and $3 million.
This the season's third classic, which is sponsored for the first time by McKay Security and B3 Development, has attracted the first eight past the post in the April 4 Post To Post 1000 Guineas, including the winner, PUDDY POOH, the runner-up MOM'S STUDENT and the third horse, BERRANCA.
However, the Richard Azan-trained PUDDY POOH beat the front running MOM'S STUDENT by five lengths in the Guineas, with the then highly-fancied BERRANCA another five lengths behind, and that makes her the obvious choice to win over the additional 400 metres of the Oaks.
Azan, who is also the owner and breeder of PUDDY POOH, said the bay filly by Adore The Gold out of Shahar has done everything asked of her and barring unforeseen circumstances, is pretty confident she will extend her winning streak today.
"She won the Guineas over a mile quite easily in sloppy conditions and there was a lot to like about the manner in which she lengthened her strides over the last furlong to win in the smart time of 1:39.0," said Azan, who over the years has developed a knack for winning big races, such as the Derby and Superstakes.
"Puddy Pooh clearly has a touch of class and given her impeccable record going into the Oaks looks the one they again have to beat. She worked well last Sunday morning and is in very high spirits. This represents another stepping stone leading up to her major objective, the Cal's Jamaica Derby in June, and we are taking it one day at a time, with Omar Walker again in the saddle," he added.
The Fitzroy Glispie-trained MOM'S STUDENT led for over 1200 metres in the 1000 Guineas before giving way to PUDDY POOH, but over the longer distance of the Oaks, should find PUDDY POOH holding all the aces and might be hard pressed to hold on for second, with the Anthony Nunes-trained BERRANCA and Lorne Kirlew's NOTHINGBUTTHEBEST expected to run improved races.
Kirlew and Nunes alluded to the fact that the underfoot conditions in the 1000 Guineas militated against their charges. Kirlew, in particular, recalled that NOTHINGBUTTHEBEST finished a remote eighth, but the trainer is not perturbed as the filly had a valid excuse for that below par effort.
"She looked real sharp at exercise last Sunday and will report a different horse with the blinkers now fitted and champion jockey Dane Nelson aboard. I really have high hopes for her on Saturday," he was quick to add.
While NOTHINGBUTHEBEST and BERRANCA (Shane Ellis now slated) should get significantly closer, I suspect they are up against an exceptionally filly in PUDDY POOH who, given her strong early pace, should prove too hot to handle from the final bend.