Classy Campesino ready to lift Cliggott Trophy
The season's first grade-one race, the $1.2 million Eileen Cliggott Memorial Trophy over 1300 metres, takes centre stage at Caymanas Park today with six facing the starter.
The field includes, the 2015 Superstakes winner FRANFIELD, from the stables of Richard Azan, his vastly improved stable-companion JAMAI RAJA, as well as the reigning Glen Mills Caribbean Sprint Champion CAMPESINO, and the imported horse BRAWN, winner of the CTL Invitational Mile last November.
All four should ensure a close contest, especially the trio of JAMAI RAJA, CAMPESINO and FRANFIELD who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively to SEEKING MY DREAM in the ultra-rich Diamond Mile on December 10,
The then three-year-old JAMAI RAJA showed good speed that day before giving way on entering the straight and although racing for the first time since, reports in good nick on the convenient mark of 51.0kg.
CAMPESINO, on the other hand, has already raced this season, slamming rivals in the St Catherine Cup feature over 1,100 metres on January 7, covering the distance in the smart time of 1:05.0. Although having to carry topweight of 57.0kg with Robert Halledeen again in the saddle, the consistent seven-year-old gelding from the stables of 14-time champion Philip Feanny is so well within himself at present that he can prove equal to the task.
I take CAMPESINO to win from JAMAI RAJA and FRANFIELD. I expect him to stalk the leaders JAMAI RAJA and SIR BUDGET into the straight before taking command a furlong out.
The 11-race programme should also provide the impressive three-year-old colt FEARLESS SAMURAI with his third consecutive win from four starts in the opening race over a mile for three-year-olds and up.
From the stables of 16-time champion Wayne DaCosta, the Fearless Vision - Sayur offspring looked awesome when slamming LADY FAYE by 81/2 lengths over 1,500 metres on January 25 and having worked well since, should prove too good for the recent winner BIRD CATCHER in a field of seven. Champion jockey Omar Walker again has the ride.
Other firm fancies on the card are FRANCIA'S PRIDE in the second race, JESSIE JAMES in the fifth, RAMBUNCTIOUS LINKS in the seventh and last season's champion two-year-old SOTOMAYOR to win on his seasonal debut in the ninth race over 1500m for overnight allowance horses.