Orpheus, Nuclear Affair for Guineas trials
The three-year-old campaign leading up to the 1000 and 2000 Guineas on April 9 continues at Caymanas Park today with the respective Guineas trials - the Thornbird Stakes for native-bred fillies and the Prince Consort Stakes for colts and geldings, both over 1400 metres.
Ten fillies have been declared for the $1.1 million Thornbird Stakes, including top contenders NUCLEAR AFFAIR and SORRENTINO'S STAR, to be ridden by in-form three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson and leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths, respectively.
When both fillies last met in the $4.25 million supreme Ventures Jamaica two-year-old Stakes over a mile last Boxing Day, the Gary Subratie-trained NUCLEAR AFFAIR just failed to stave off the winner, FUTURE KING, while then favourite, SORRENTINO'S STAR finished four lengths fifth at level weights.
Today, NUCLEAR AFFAIR is in receipt of 4.0kg from topweight SORRENTINO'S STAR. Following her decisive win over the promising colt ORPHEUS on her January 30 seasonal debut over 1500 metres, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, now running with a mere 53.0kg, looks hard to oppose under these favourable conditions.
Trainer Subratie is looking forward to even bigger things from NUCLEAR AFFAIR, with the 1000 Guineas just around the corner.
"I have very high hopes for her this season. She has definitely trained on from two to three with that good win over the progressive colt Orpheus over 1500 metres some weeks ago, clocking a good time, and is definitely a class act," said the second-generation trainer.
"She apparently has everything in her favour and should use this as a dress rehearsal for the Guineas," added Subratie.
The chestnut filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair should win easily from SORRENTINO'S STAR and GIRLY GIRLY LINKS.
Meanwhile, 12 colts will face-off in the $1.1 million Prince Consort Stakes and, to my mind, it should come down to a straight fight between Nelson's mount JAMAI RAJA and ORPHEUS, both impressive winners this season.
Preference is for ORPHEUS, who has pleased in all three races this season. After winning over this trip on January 1 and following up with a close second to NUCLEAR AFFAIR, over 1500 metres on January 30, ORPHEUS gained nods of approval after his impressive win over CHACE THE GREAT in the recent Sir Howard Stakes over 1200 metres, the chestnut colt, by Adore The Gold out of La Reina, covering the distance in the good time of 1;13.3.
With in-form trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes having him in good nick and the additional furlong right up his street, ORPHEUS, with champion jockey Shane Ellis again in the saddle, looks the right choice.
Other firm fancies on the card are MR. TOPPER TOP MAN in the second race for maidens; IAN LINKS to go one better in the fourth; UNCLE G in the sixth; FUTURE KING over stable-companion HOVER CRAFT and COMMANDING CHIEF in the seventh race over 1500m for overnight allowance horses; and JESSE'S FAVORITE in the closing race.