Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Diamond Mile a shot in the arm for racing - Parsard

Published:Friday | December 4, 2015 | 12:01 AMOrville Clarke
Uppa Tune
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Veteran trainer Harry Parsard says tomorrow's inaugural running of the Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile at Caymanas Park with a record purse of $13.5 million is a shot in the arm for the horse racing industry.

Parsard, who is enjoying a marvellous season, having won the St Leger with 35-1 outsider SUPERLUMINAL in July, along with a number of grade- one trophy races with UPPA TUNE and POTCHEEN, said the race could not have come at a better time, especially with all accompanying races on the card offering no less than $1 million in purse money.

"This is unprecedented in the history of local racing, and the response from stakeholders to each of the races has been tremendous. The industry needs another race day such as this on the annual calendar, and whichever entity gets the track through divestment, if it becomes a reality in 2016, should seriously considered having two such racedays," added Parsard, who will saddle three of the 16 starters in the Diamond Mile.

The trio will be led by his crack imported horse, UPPA TUNE, outgoing champion sprinter POTCHEEN and PETE'SWILDONE.

All three will be vying for the winner's share of $6.5 million, a record allocation, as well as $2.1 million for second or $1.25 for third. In fact, purse money will be paid on the first 10 past the post.

"My horses will definitely earn, but considering the distance, UPPA TUNE, with champion jockey Dane Nelson, would appear to have the best chance. But the others should still give good account of themselves," he reasoned.

"Uppa Tune missed the recent Coca Cola Invitational Mile as the conditions of weight allotment were not kind to him, but the good thing is that he will report nicely refreshed for this race and his strong pace and proven class could make a difference in this star-studded field," added the trainer.

Parsard, however, has one regret. This has to do with the fact that his vastly improved 3-y-o filly, LONG RUNNING TRAIN, did not have sufficient earnings at this stage to make the top 16.

LONG RUNNING TRAIN was among the 10 reserves named in the 26 entries, but it was highly unlikely that she would make the cut with purse money going to the top 10.

Parsard said while he is thankful to the sponsors Supreme Ventures Limited and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission in joining hands for this historic race day, he is proposing a change for next year.

"I think the format should be changed to an invitational race rather than one based on lifetime earnings as now obtains. This would ensure that horses such as LONG RUNNING TRAIN and another progressive three-year-old colt, POKER STAR, would get in ahead of some of the older horses with built-in earnings over the years due to age," he concluded.