Thu | Sep 21, 2017

‘Chief’ set for long overdue win

Published:Saturday | March 5, 2016 | 3:00 AMOrville Clarke
Apprentice Dane Dawkins (left) aboard THE PROMISE LAND getting the better of A THOUSAND STARS, with jockey Robert Halleeden in the saddle, to win the Maiden Condition race over 1820 metres at Caymanas Park last Saturday.

Former top-class campaigner COMMANDING CHIEF should score a long overdue win in today's competitive looking overnight allowance race over 1300 metres to be contested by 13 starters at Caymanas Park.

COMMANDING CHIEF last won the grade one Prime Minister's Stakes in a titanic tussle with PERFECT NEIGHBOUR over 2000 metres on Independence Day 2014 (August 6), and although yet to win another race since, has run some useful races in defeat, even though sparingly raced.

When he last competed, in open allowance company on January 23 for new trainer Spencer Chung, the eight-year-old gelding by War Marshall out of She Knows Beau ran a decent race behind the progressive filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN and CAMPESINO over a mile, finishing six lengths sixth after racing prominently in second entering the straight.

Having worked well in preparation for today's encounter and stepping down to overnight company in the process, COMMANDING CHIEF has a glorious chance of reliving past glories.

MOST ACCOMPLISHED

He is easily the most accomplished in the field, following big-race wins in the St Leger and Gold Cup when trained by Everal Francis, and with three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson sticking with the ride, the hint should be taken.

Still, it won't be a walk in the park for the veteran campaigner as he faces some very fit opponents in SHINING LIGHT, MIRACLE STAR, RED FLAG, EDISON and HOVER CRAFT, all ideally suited to the distance.

The Wayne DaCosta-trained HOVER CRAFT (Omar Walker up) not only won in grade one company last season, but was second to FRANFIELD in last November's Superstakes, and with 1300 metres not too sharp for him, is a worthy opponent. The same can be said of the Gary Griffiths-trained SHINING LIGHT, a recent winner who will love every inch of this race.

However, COMMANDING CHIEF has never had it this easy in years and thus gets the vote.

Other firm fancies on the 10-race programme are SUPERTRONICS (knocking at the door) to go one better in the second race; stable-companion BIG GEORGE to repeat in the third; GOLDEN GLORY in the sixth; down-in-class BOLD AVIATOR in race seven; and the speedy OPTIMUS to finally deliver in the eighth race for maiden four-year-olds and up over 1000 metres round.