Italiano will rebound
The horses have come out in full force for tomorrow's 12-race programme at Caymanas Park, featuring the season's first grade one-trophy race, the Eileen Cliggott Memorial Trophy and the Long Shot Trophy for $180,000 claimers, both over 1300 metres.
Both the Pick-9 and Super-6 start anew after they were cornered last Saturday, the Pick-9 offering the guaranteed minimum of $1 million and both Super-6s minimum payouts of $750,00. The Pick-9 will embrace races four to 12, the first Super-6 from race one to six, the late Super-6 from race seven to 12.
Seven starters have been declared to contest the opening race over 1820 metres (restricted allowance 3), including co-favourites BALLON D'OR and MIND SET, to be ridden by champion jockey Shane Ellis and four-time champion Omar Walker, respectively.
Both are well suited to the distance, and along with recent winner TURBO MACHINE CAT, should ensure keen competition. MIND SET from the stables of 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta has the most appealing form, having finished two lengths second to DREAMCOMETRUE over 1500 metres on January 9. The Anthony Nunes-trained BALLON D'OR caught the eye when running on well for third to stable-companion SOUTHERN CRUISE over 1400 metres on January 30 and will only go down fighting. MIND SET, however, has greater pace and will get first run and thus gets the nod.
MAIDEN CONDITION RACE
Next on the programme is a 4-y-o and up maiden condition race in which SLEW DI CLOCK under top apprentice Linton Steadman, LAZZA with apprentice Hakeem Pottinger, and the lightly-aced EL SALADO with in-form apprentice Bebeto Harvey, should have the finish to themselves in a 10-strong field.
EL SALADO, a 4-y-o bay colt by Deputy Glitters out of Muchacha Favourita from the stables of Randolph Scott, has shown promise in two races last year, and although sidelined for nearly 11 months, has looked sharp enough at exercise to return on a winning note against such moderate opposition.
LAZZA has good pace and could use it to best advantage, while SLEW DI CLOCK finished second to CRUCIAL VALOUR over this trip on December 23 and could go one better.
SILVER CLOUD, who went under in a driving finish as the favourite to the rank outsider ABBEY ROAD over 1400 metres recently, is programmed to recoup losses in the third race over 1600 metres in which the free-running filly BUBBLING KITTEN and the late-kicking ORIGINAL TRAIN are twin dangers in a quality field of six.
ITALIANO, who has won two of his last four races, steps down in class (claiming $450,000 - $400,000) for the fourth race over 1200 metres and now back with his old connections (claimed), including jockey Omar Walker, represents a five-star banker in a nine-strong field. The grey gelding won back-to-back races for popular owner O'Shaun Connection and trainer Neive Graham some weeks ago but was subsequently claimed. He was reclaimed by Graham last Saturday after finishing third to DWAYNE STAR on a $500,000 tag and cannot be opposed on a $450,000 tag.
The last two races in the first Super-6 should be won by the speedy BIG DATA under Aaron Chatrie and SPORTING CLAY with three-time champion Dane Nelson in division one of the Long Shot Trophy. Their respective dangers are MISTER BONES and PRINCE O'SHAUN.
FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES
(1) MND SET/BALLON D'OR
(2) SLEW DI CLOCK/EL
(3) SILVER CLOUD/
(5) BIG DATA/MISTER BONES
(6) SPORTING CLAY/PRINCE O'SHAUN