Future King rules Supreme
FUTURE KING, running at odds of 5-1 with Robert Halledeen riding for trainer Wayne DaCosta, got up in the nick of time to beat NUCLEAR AFFAIR (5-1) by a neck in the 104th running of the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over a mile at Caymanas Park yesterday, the third and final race in the $11.5 million Supreme Ventures Triple Crown Series for native bred two-year-olds.
For DaCosta, it was a day he will long remember, having saddled the island's top distance horse PERFECT NEIGHBOUR as well to win the traditional Boxing Day supporting feature for the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup over 2400 metres for the second year in a row for owners Jeffrey Mordecai and Alfred Lee.
DaCosta easily won his 15th trainers' championship to become Jamaica's leading all-time trainer with 15 titles, finally surpassing Hall of Famer Philip Feanny with 14.
Significantly, FUTURE KING and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR are not only trained and owned by the same connections, but are groomed by the veteran Alphanso Edwards.
The cream of the crop contested the SVL Jamaica Two-Year-Old stakes and punters made the recent Pick-3 Super Challenge winner SORRENTINO'S STAR, with outgoing champion jockey Dane Nelson riding for Feanny, a strong favourite at 8-5 in a 15-horse field. But after racing in touch approaching the home turn SORRENTINO'S STAR flattened out to finish fifth.
FUTURE KING, meanwhile was held off the early pace in midfield as ZUGULU (7-1) led for the first half mile before giving way to the DaCosta-trained DREAMLINER (5-1) under four-time champion jockey Omar Walker. But DREAMLINER came under pressure from several horses a furlong out. NUCLEAR AFFAIR (Aaron Chatrie) pointed on the rails but he was nabbed by the fast-finishing FUTURE KING within shades of the wire.
A dark bay colt by Natural Selection out of Millenium Princess, bred by the Y.S. (1955) Limited, FUTURE KING chalked up his second win from five starts, and is almost certain to be crowned Champion Two-Year-Old.
"He has really come on nicely since finishing second to Sorrentino's Star in the Pick-3 Super Challenge, and Halledeen rode him perfectly to my instructions," said DaCosta.
"'I had two strong contenders in the race, but Dreamliner apparently found a mile taxing, and it was left to Future King to wear them down in deep stretch. He has now established himself as the winter book favourite for the classics in 2016. He has class, and I have high hopes for him," said DaCosta, who duly won his 11th consecutive trainers' championship.
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, installed a 4-5 favourite with Orlando Foster aboard, outduelled arch-rival TYPEWRITER (Nelson up) leaving the half mile to win the Harry Jackson by two lengths from the much-improved LONG RUNNING TRAIN (5-2), but had to survive an objection from the rider of LONG RUNNING TRAIN for crossing the three-year-old filly a furlong out.
On a tough day for form, players who saw the Pick-9 consolation paid out on six of nine, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR was one of four marginal favourites to score on the 11-race programme, which attracted a bumper holiday crowd.