Houdini's Magic by a neck
HOUDINI'S MAGIC, ridden by champion jockey Shane Ellis for in-form trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes, got up in the nick of time to deny 4-5 favourite PHINEAS by a neck in the three-year-old and up open allowance feature for the Fontainbleu Trophy over 1500 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Held off the early pace in fourth as PHINEAS coming from the number one post position made most from FORCE THE JOUR and then MOM'S STUDENT, HOUDINI'S MAGIC started his winning run on the outside entering the straight at which stage PHINEAS enjoyed a two-length lead.
HOUDINI'S MAGIC, however, soon found his best stride, reeling in topweight PHINEAS within shades of the wire for a narrow win in a field of seven.
Owned by Derrick Brandt and bred by Everglades Farms, the winner, a four-year-old bay colt by Performing Magic out of Milestone, was notching his third win from seven starts this season, covering the distance in a fairly fast 1:31.2.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Richard Azan-trained three-year-old gelding JAMAI RAJA was even more impressive in winning the three-year-old restricted stakes over the same distance in a very fast 1:30.2, a full second better than the time recorded by HOUDINI'S MAGIC, both running in muddy conditions.
Held together in a prominent position by the apprentice Odean Edwards as stable-companion RALLY BABY made the early running in a seven-horse field, JAMAI RAJA, a 4-5 favourite, turned for home heads on with highly fancied WILL IN CHARGE on the outside and quickly found another gear on the rails to beat WILL IN CHARGE by 41/2 lengths as the 4-5 favourite.
JAMAI RAJA, who finished a close second to BIGDADDYKOOL in the Lotto Classic for the Governor's Cup over 2000 metres on May 28, was winning for the second time in a muddy surface since February 13.
Meanwhile, UNBREAKABLE, owned and trained by Steven Todd, came from just off the early pace to win the Cecil C. Charlton Memorial Trophy by 11/2 lengths at odds of 7-2. Ridden by Aaron Chatrie, the consistent five-year-old gelding caught up with long-time leader FORTUNONEHUNDRED a furlong out and won by 11/2 lengths from TITANIC.
The third trophy race on the card for the Monica Todd Memorial Cup provided a runaway win for 3-1 chance DR. TRAIN, ridden by Robert Halledeen for owner/trainer Ian Parsard.
Earlier, female apprentice Natalie Berger notched the second win of her career, this aboard 12-1 chance BURLIN for trainer Paul Hylton in the fourth race over a mile, winning in a driving finish.