Mullings maintains top riding form
Following his win aboard BUZZ NIGHTMARE in last Saturday's open allowance feature, back-to-form jockey Oneil Mullings followed up with 5-2 chance SHADE OF BEAUTY in the 12th running of the Sports Journalists of Jamaica Trophy (claiming $350,000-$300,0000) over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park on Wednesday.
Mullings kept SHADE OF BEAUTY in second as the 1-1 favourite EL NUMERO UNO led at a fast clip into the straight. But the six-year-old mare from the stables of Clifford Atkinson Jr found her best strides on entering the straight, running on strongly along the rails early in the last furlong to catch and beat EL NUMERO UNO by half a length in a driving finish, with JUNIOR DON a close-up third in a field of seven.
Having ridden SHADE OF BEAUTY on the three previous occasions prior to this race, Mullings felt that based on the last run when finishing second to AUNT HILDA over the round-five course on May 21, this was a golden opportunity for her to visit the winner enclosure. To many, the daughter of Storm Craft - Velocity, was presented in peak of condition by her owner/trainer and duly obliged.
Later in the afternoon, ROYAL ASSAULT easily justified favouritism with a post-to-post victory in the overnight allowance sprint, covering the 1100-metre trip in the fairly good time of 1.06.3 in winning by 21/2 lengths. A short-priced favourite at 1-5, the consistent four-year-old colt was ridden by top apprentice Linton Steadman for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes.
Steadman and fellow claiming apprentice Odean Edwards shared the riding honours on the eight-race programme with two winners each. Steadman also won the fourth race by a wide margin aboard the even-money favourite UNRULY TEXAS (debut) for trainer Randolph Scott.
Edwards won the second race aboard 7-5 favourite LUCKY NINE (made all) for trainer Gary Griffiths and the seventh with the Fitzroy Glispie-trained filly BIRD CATCHER, an even-money favourite.