Big three to set St Leger on fire
Given the tremendous three-cornered duel in the June 25 Cal's Jamaica Derby, the three principals should make the 90th running of the ISP Finance Services Limited Jamaica St Leger over 2000 metres on Saturday, July 16, at Caymanas Park, a race worth going miles to see.
This was the view of Caymanas Track Limited's (CTL) racing secretary, Denzil Miller Jr, at yesterday's launch of the season's final classic - which offers a total purse of $3.5 million - inclusive of $750,000 from ISP.
In addition, the company will donate a grand total of $1.2 million, with $50,000 each going to the purses of the other nine races on the card.
Miller disclosed that the top three in the derby - disquali-fied winner FUTURE KING, BIGDADDYKOOL and ORPHEUS, who was awarded first place following a lengthy stewards' inquiry - have been confirmed for this mouth-watering St Leger rematch, and he envisages an even more intense battle for top honours over the shorter distance of 10 furlongs.
"It will be no easy task to separate the top three, but outside of these, others such as the derby fourth-place finisher, WILL IN CHARGE, Oaks heroine A THOUSAND STARS and 1000 Guineas winner, NUCLEAR AFFAIR, could impact on the outcome with the trip reduced," Miller argued.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, CEO Dennis Smith emphasised their strong relationship with the promoting company, CTL, among other things.
"For the past four years, we have been servicing the racing community with our On Track product. What is our On Track product?
"Ask any groom, jockey or striving trainer and they can testify to the service we provide," he said. "This product was specially created to service a need in the racing industry for expediting the payment of purses. Simply put, it takes an assignment on the individual's winning purse in exchange for immediate payment.
"We believe that with our intervention, we have made a positive impact on the racing industry and look forward to a continued relationship to the benefit of all stakeholders," added Smith.
He announced the launch of the ISP essay competition intended for recent GSAT awardees, and the provision of 15 ISP BTS scholarship grants of $10,000 each to be awarded to children or family members of horsemen. The details of the list of awardees is to be made public on St Leger Day.
Additionally, ISP will be paying purses in real time on the raceday. Popular singer D'Angel will provide musical entertainment on the afternoon and a prize will be awarded to the groom of the best presented horse.
In his address, Shane Dalling, CEO of CTL, said he was pleased to announce the return of ISP as sponsor of the St Leger for the second consecutive year and was looking forward to a memorable end to the 2016 classic campaign.