Ian Links obliges
The improving 4-y-o colt IAN LINKS justified favouritism at Caymanas Park yesterday in the annual renewal of the City of Kingston Centenary Cup feature over a mile, but was forced to do it the hard way.
Ridden by champion jockey Omar Walker for 16-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, IAN LINKS was outpaced in last position for the first half of the race as the fleet-footed DR BANNER led from highly fancied UNBREAKABLE. But although DR BANNER looked likely to hold on in mid-stretch, he was worn down by the fast-finishing IAN LINKS, who got up in the nick of time to win by a neck, with STIR IT UP (15-1) racing prominently for third, 11/2 lengths away. ITALIANO was declared a late non-starter, reducing the field to five.
Owned by Ian Lodge, IAN LINKS, a bay colt by Fearless Vision out of Witchcraft, was notching his third win from his last four starts. The Mayor of Kingston, Delroy Williams as on hand to present the Centenary Cup to the connections of IAN LINKS.
Earlier, Walker and DaCosta teamed up for the first of two winners when another 1-4 favourite FEARLESS SAMURAI romped the first race over 1500 metres for three-year-olds. Taking over the lead from GREAT FAITH at the 600-metre pole, the Fearless Vision - Sayuri offspring strolled home by eight lengths from LADY FAYE for his second consecutive win.
Walker was one of three jockeys to ride two winners on the nine-race programme. The others were Richard 'Bya' Mitchell aboard 6-1 shot NATASHADONTPLAY for trainer Uton Stewart in the fourth race and SHARP SKIRIT at 3-1 for trainer Andrew McDonald in the sixth, and three-time champion Dane Nelson aboard 4-5 favourite CORALANDO in the eighth and the 31-1 outsider LAZZA in the closing race over the straight.
Owned, trained and bred by Lorenzo Robinson, LAZZA, who was unable to go the early pace in mid-track, came home strongly to beat long-time leaders KIMBERLY GOLD (9-2) and MARKOFAPRINCE (5-2) by 23/4 lengths in a maximum field of 16.