Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Nunes holds key to Ahwofah sprint

Published:Saturday | October 29, 2016 | 10:00 AMOrville Clake
Jockey Linton Steadman drives BRAVE PROSPECT(left) to victory over NO MONEY FRIEND (right), with Ameth Robles aboard, in the eighth race for 3-y-o & Up claimers, at $550,000, over seven furlongs at Caymanas Park last Saturday.

Topline trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes holds a strong hand with ROYAL ASSAULT and BERRA- CA in today's Ahwhofah Sprint over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park, the overnight allowance feature attracting 14 starters.

Despite the large field, which also includes the fleet-footed TALENTED TONY K, ROYAL ASSAULT and BERRANCA - the mounts of top apprentices Linton Steadman and Dane Dawkins, respectively - are standouts and could form the quinella.

The 4-y-o filly BERRANCA has been a model of consistency, and with a mere 48.5kg, will have lots of supporters. She finished a good second to CRUCIAL APPEAL over the round-five course on October 8, and three weeks earlier, chased home the progressive 3-y-o colt CHACE THE GREAT in a fast-run sprint.

Although tempting at the weights, BERRANCA lacks the proven class of stable-companion ROYAL ASSAULT, who, despite having his first race since winning over 1100 metres on June 10, will report razor sharp, having turned in bullet work after bullet work in his preparation.

The 4-y-o colt by Blue Pepsi Lodge out of Maken Joy has won twice from five starts this season, and even in defeat, has turned in quality performances against the likes of former champion sprinter POTCHEEN, CAMPESINO, and BUZZ NIGHTMARE.

Back in action from the convenient mark of 54.0kg, ROYAL ASSAULT, who has good speed, can definitely return on a winning note. I expect him to stave off the consistent BERRANCA.

Elsewhere on the 12-race programme, which commences at 11:30 a.m., PONTIUS PILATE, who was purchased for the record price of $5 million in last year's TOBA yearling sale, should make a winning debut for Nunes and champion jockey Shane Ellis in the third race over 1200 metres for maiden two-year-olds.

A bay colt by Forest Danger out of Sea Treaty, PONTIUS PILATE has moved impressively at exercise, and this half-brother to three derby winners should get off the mark immediately in a field of seven.

Other firm fancies on the card are BROOKLYN in the second race, DASH BOARD in the fourth, JUNIOR DON in the fifth, and DEMOLITION BOY in the sixth.