Bank on Messithegreat
With more than $27 million at stake on tomorrow's mammoth 14-race programme, the inaugural Diamond Mile race meet at Caymanas Park marks the biggest and most prestigious meet ever staged in the English-speaking Caribbean.
It will feature the $13.5 million Diamond Mile for three-year-olds and up to be contested by a star-studded field of 16, including such big names as PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, TYPEWRITER, SEEKING MY DREAM, UPPA TUNE, FRANFIELD, POTCHEEN, and COMMANDING CHIEF.
With SIR BUDGET having scored a 52-1 upset in the ninth race last Saturday, both the Pick-9 and late Super-6 proved elusive. The Pick-9 carryover offers a $2.3 million carryover, while the late Super-6 has $43.5 million in the kitty.
We look at the first Super-6 which gets under way in the first race, a two-year-old maiden condition race in which 11 starters have been declared. This will more than likely come down to a straight fight between WILD GLADIATOR and OCEAN SEEKER, to be ridden by outgoing champion jockey Dane Nelson and champion jockey-designate Shane Ellis, respectively.
Both finished second in recent races, the Harry Jaghai-trained WILD GLADIATOR chasing home CHACE THE GREAT over the round five course behind a fast time on November 21 and is not only better for the experience, but has been administered Lasix this time around.
With Nelson replacing the inexperienced apprentice Kemoy Parchment aboard WILD GLADIATOR - the son of Sorrentino - Priceless Beauty gets the nod over OCEAN SEEKER, second to ANOTHER FURY over 1300 metres on November 21, and FRANCIA PRIDE, who showed promise on her debut behind GIRLY GIRLY LINKS some weeks ago.
Next on the programme is a $450,000-$400,000 claiming race over 1400 metres for the ICool Trophy, to be contested by 10 starters, including leading lights FORCE DE JOUR (Paul Francs up) and ITALIANO, with Ellis aboard.
FORCE DE JOUR, now back with trainer Winston Morris, has won six of his last seven races, including a runaway win over this trip on September 19 on a $550,000 claiming tag. He was outclassed by PHINEAS and SEEKING MY DREAM in the recent Coca Cola Invitational Mile, but now aimed this low, should lead home ITALIANO and MERU.
MESSITHEGREAT, a lightly raced three-year-old gelding by Traditional out of Princess Terri, ran well from a bad draw over the straight on November 21 when finishing a close third to GANJA MAN, and with in-form jockey Jevanne Erwin replacing the sparingly used David 'Scorcher' McKenzie, the hint should be taken. Trained by 14-time champion Philip Feanny, MESSITHEGREAT has worked fairly well and should turn the tables on LAGUNA POINT, who beat him by a short head for second on November 21.
FREE RANGE, who finished strongly for fifth behind GANJA MAN (beaten two lengths) recently, should get off the mark in the fourth race over 1200 metres for maiden three-year-olds. He runs from the convenient mark of 50.0kg by virtue of apprentice's Odean Edwards' 4.0 claim and despite the good claims of WELL BLESSED and the lightly raced KACI, both of whom ran creditably behind GANJA MAN, FREE RANGE, who is well drawn on the outside, looks the pick of the weights.
The last two races in the first Super-6 should be won by the Robert Pearso-trained two-year-old colt WILL IN CHARGE (Ellis up), ABBEY ROAD (apprentice Bebeto Harvey), both of whom finished second last time out. Their respective dangers are LORD EQUUS in the fifth and CAMOUFLAGE in the sixth.
FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES
(1) WILD GLADIATOR/OCEAN SEEKER
(2) FORCE DE JOUR/ITALIANO
(4) FREE RANGE/KACI
(5) WILL IN CHARGE/LORD EQUUS
(6) ABBEY ROAD/CAMOUFLAGE