Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Sojourner Truth provides Beckford with first winner

Published:Friday | February 26, 2016 | 2:00 AM
SPORTING CLAY, with Dane Nelson aboard, is being led to the winners’ enclosure by Garth Samuels after winning Race Six for the Long Shot Trophy over 1200 metres at Caymnas Park on Saturday.

ONeil Beckford, one of 17 apprentice riders who graduated from the Jockeys' School in September of last year, rode his first winner when 4-1 chance SOJOURNER TRUTH romped the eighth race for $180,000 conditional claimers over the straight five course at Caymanas Park yesterday.

A past student of Tacius Golding High in St Catherine, Beckford, 26, could not hide his glee when he passed the post first aboard his 58th ride, standing tall in the saddle with his whip hand raised high in celebration.

Having secured three rides on the 10-race programme, Beckford said that he was looking forward to his first winner in SOJOURNER TRUTH, especially when it was learnt that the hot ante-post favourite, BARS OF GOLD, was a late non-starter.

"She had shown improved form in her last two races, and with Bars of Gold out, I knew this was a golden opportunity for me to finally win a race. SOJOURNERTRUTH usually runs her best races over the straight when fully fit, and she delivered today by three lengths," he explained.

SOJOURNER TRUTH is owned by All-Stars Pro and trained by Paul Hylton. The 8-y-o bay mare by Skipping out of Augus Mawnin was winning her first race in well over a year.

Beckford, who is apprenticed to veteran trainer Vin Edwards, thus became the 12th graduate from the last batch to ride a winner. Looking ahead, the young rider said he would work even harder to maintain his weight (51.0kg) and establish himself as a go to claiming apprentice.

Meanwhile, BRAVE PROSPECT, running as the 2-1 second favourite, ran on strongly to beat long-time leader and 3-2 favourite FRANKENSTORM by three lengths in the Millard Ziadie Memorial Cup feature over 1100 metres.

The 4-y-o colt by Seeking The Glory out of the 1999 derby winner Good Prospect, was ridden by Kerry-Gayle Robinson for in-form trainer Neive Graham and leading owner O'Shaun Connection. Eleven ran.

- O.C.