'It's Bigdaddy's title'
BIGDADDYKOOL cemented his claim for 'Horse-of-the-Year' honours with an effortless victory in the 54th running of the grade one Harry Jackson Memorial Cup feature 2400 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday to bring down the curtain on a fascinating season of racing at Caymanas Park.
Ridden by big-race apprentice Linton Steadman for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes and Trinidadian owner Stephan Narinesingh, the classy 3-y-o gelding, by Sorrentino out of Beware Baby, ticked off his fifth win from 11 starts to emerge as the season's leading stakes winner with just over $11 million and favourite for the Horse of the Year award.
'BIGDADDY' capped a remarkable season by winning the Harry Jackson by 61/2 lengths from BRAWN but also captured St. Leger and Lotto Classic for the Governor's Cup as well, not to mention the Burger King Superstakes on November 12 following the disqualification of first-past-the-post FRANFIELD. BIGDADDYKOOL also finished second in the Cal's Jamaica Derby and second to SEEKING MY DREAM in the ultra-rich Diamond Mile on December 10.
"He's a ready-made favourite to win the award by virtue of the calibre of races he won," said an elated Narinesingh, who became champion owner for the first time on the back of BIGDADDY's performances.
Nunes echoed the sentiments of the owner: "Having closed out the season with a win, he deserves the Horse of the Year award, even though some would say SEEKING MY DREAM, who also won five races, has a good case," said the trainer who has won virtually everything but the trainers' championship in 2016.
Narinesingh added: "My objective at the start of 2016 was to become champion owner and this was achieved with some $22 million in stakes. This win in the Harry Jackson also enabled me to squeeze past long-time leader O'Shaun Connection with 21 wins, the most by any owner as well.
"Thanks mainly to BIGDADDYKOOL. This was a great season for me. My only regret was that Nunes, having accomplished so much in the major races, failed to surpass Wayne DaCosta in the trainers' championship. I will do everything in my power in 2017 to try and correct that," he said in reference to Nunes, who has finished second to DaCosta nine times now.
The 11-race programme saw three riders sharing the honours with two winners each - Steadman, fellow apprentice Javaneil Patterson and former champion Wesley Henry.
The 2-y-o debutant, SECRET TRAVELLER (5-2, Paul Francis), outfinished the 1-2 favourite WONG DON in the round-five Stewards' Cup, while the Nunes-trained BILINGUAL, with Steadman up, romped the 24th running of the Sweet Ruckus Trophy over 1400 metres for two-year-olds, as the 4-5 favourite.