Harvey at his best in Bonnie Blue Flag
Last season's champion apprentice Bebeto Harvey enjoyed his best day in the saddle in 2017, thanks to three winners at Caymanas Park yesterday, including 1-5 favourite FRANFIELD in the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy open allowance feature over 1820 metres.
This signalled a welcome return to form for Harvey who finished second to Omar Walker in last year's jockeys' championship with 63 winners.
His three-timer comprised UNCLE VINNIE at 9-1 for trainer Gary Subratie in the third race over 1500 metres for maiden three-year-olds, FRANFIELD for trainer Richard Azan in the ninth, and FIERY PATH at 10-1 for trainer Donovan Plummer in the closing race over 1400 metres.
Prior to yesterday's meet, Harvey had ridden only three winners since the start of the season. However, he looked his old self in the saddle when bringing UNCLE VINNIE from last position after the lightly-raced colt had missed the break, and was in his element in the ninth when snatching FRANFIELD from the jaws of defeat to win the Bonnie Blue Flag by a short head from 5-2 chance BLUE DIXIE with three-time champion Dane Nelson aboard.
FRANFIELD was ridden to chase the outsider PROUD OF NUCLEAR (34-1) for most of the way. He turned for home just ahead of the ever-present BLUE DIXIE who, responding to a bustling ride from Nelson, pointed midway through the last furlong. But Harvey, in a desperate last ditch effort on the outside, got the nose in front on the wire for a thrilling victory.
"Franfield has always displayed grit and determination in his races, especially going two turns. Today was no different and we just made it," said the 2.0kg claiming apprentice who started riding in September, 2015 along with 16 other graduates from the Jockey School.
First of many triples
"I felt good in the saddle today and this could be the first of many triples in the months ahead," he added.
In the absence of trainer Azan who was out of town, FRANFIELD was saddled by second generation trainer Gary Crawford, son of the late trainer Fitz Crawford. By Traditional out of Supa Lei, 6-y-o FRANFIELD is owned by former champions Elite Bloodstock Limited whose representative, Dr Graham Brown said the 2015 Superstakes winner "will have yet another shot at the Superstakes in November, providing he remains sound ... . Remember, he won it again last year, only to be disqualified. Let's see, for he truly relishes the distance of ten furlongs," he was quick to add.
Champion and leading trainer Wayne DaCosta saddled two winners on the 10-race programme comprising LOOSE CANNON, a 2-5 favourite with Omar Walker up in the opening race for native bred three-year-olds, and 3-5 favourite VISION in the fourth for high claiming horses over the straight.