Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Nuclear Affair for Caribbean Choice Jamaica Oaks

Published:Saturday | April 30, 2016 | 4:00 AMOrville Clarke
Trainer Gary Subratie (left) leads in NUCLEAR AFFAIR (Dane Nelson up) to the winners’ enclosure after the filly won the 25th running of the Thornbird Stakes at Caymanas Park on Saturday, March 19.

The best of the native bred three-year-old fillies will hold centre stage at Caymanas Park today in the 77th running of the Caribbean Choice Jamaica Oaks over 2000 metres and given the presence of a top heavy favourite in NUCLEAR AFFAIR, victory for her should be a mere formality.

Offering a total purse of $3 million, this the season's third classic has attracted 10 starters, including the first eight past the post in the April 9 Post to Post 1000 Guineas, which saw the howling favourite, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, powering home by 9 1/4 lengths from A THOUSAND STARS and SORRENTINO'S STAR in a fast 1:39.2 for a mile.

NUCLEAR AFFAIR was then ridden by three-time champion, Dane Nelson, who left the island last week for another riding stint in Canada. Her connections have called up big-race jockey Shane Ellis, the reigning champion, to replace Nelson, who will be back to ride her in the derby.

Unbeaten in three starts this season, NUCLEAR AFFAIR has already stamped herself as an exceptional three-year-old filly and Subratie is looking beyond the Oaks to the June 25 derby where she will come face to face with the colts.

GLORIOUS UNCERTAINTY

"She has everything in her favour today, having beaten seven of her opponents in the Guineas. But she still has to go out there and execute for racing is a sport of glorious uncertainty," said Subratie, who is seeking his first Oaks win, having finished second with the 99-1 outsider ZACAPA some years ago.

"She has done everything asked of her this season and I was particularly pleased with how she carried herself at exercise last Sunday morning in a six-furlong gallop, looking pretty easy in 1:14.4.

"Nuclear Affair can do anything ... she can run with the pace or come from behind if the situation demands and I am confident she will deliver for her deserving owner Michros," he added.

"It is only left to be seen whether my other runner, Golden Glory, can complete the exacta after finishing fifth in the Guineas. She did not have much luck in running, however, and my hope is that she can beat the runner-up, A Thousand Stars, and the third horse, Sorrentino's Star, for second, with Ameth Robles who rode Zacapa taking the ride," said the second generation trainer.

For me, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, a chestnut filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair, bred by her owner, is so much better than her opponents that it will take an act of God to deny her today.

The Wayne DaCosta-trained A THOUSAND STARS, a fast improving sort, should follow her home, again.

Other firm fancies on the 12-race programme are CAMPESINO to repeat in the third race for open allowance horses; last year's Oaks winner, MOM'S STUDENT, in the fourth; SOUND OF MIRACLE in the fifth; RUNAWAY GAL in the sixth for the Ricochet Cup; PROLIFIC PRINCESS in the seventh; and LORD EQUUS in the ninth.