Ali Baba to steal away from ‘Chief’, Franfield
Having elected to bypass next Saturday's Lotto Classic for the Governor's Cup, 2000 Guineas hero ALI BABA will take on proven grade-one campaigner COMMANDING CHIEF in the open allowance feature over 1820 metres, the Mark My Word Trophy, at Caymanas Park today, and he should to extend his win streak to five.
Although facing two formidable opponents, COMMANDING CHIEF and the progressive four-year-old colt FRANFIELD, in a six-strong field, ALI BABA has progressed to such an extent this season that he ought to be followed in his final prep for the June 13 Cal's Jamaica Derby.
The three-year-old colt from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is unbeaten in four races this season, winning each in fast times.
He ran on well to beat table-companion SEEKING MY DREAM in the 2000 Guineas, over a mile, on April 6, covering the distance in the smart time of 1:37.4.
Since then, the bay colt, by Fearless Vision out of the 2009 'Horse of the Year', Ahwhofah, owned and bred by Winston Kong, has looked razor sharp at exercise, galloping seven furlongs in a brisk 1:27.0 on May 2. He also looked easy in another seven-furlong spin last Sunday morning in 1:29.2.
To say ALI BABA is ready for the best of the older horses would be an understatement. Set to receive 4.0kg from Everal Francis-trained COMMANDING CHIEF, he should have his measure with in-form stable jockey Robert Halledeen again in the saddle.
Although COMMANDING CHIEF (Clive Lynch up) is a proven two-turn horse blessed with a good strong pace and has worked well following a near five-month absence, it is left to be seen whether he can defy topweight of 57.0kg against rising star ALI BABA.
Also on the card is the annual renewal of the three-year-old and up overnight allowance race, over the straight, for the G.A. 'Sarge' Bucknor Memorial Cup. This was designated as the feature race last Saturday, but was one of four races abandoned due to the strong winds and dust nuisance.
Two of the 13 originally declared have defected, but there is no reason to go against down-in-class RIO COBRE, to beat BUTLER CABIN and HOLOGRAM SHADOW.
Other fancies are ZACKONTHEATTACK in the first race, BOLD AVIATOR in the third, KING WITHIN in the seventh and GLORIOUS CAUSE in the 11th.