Champion pair to shine in Guineas
WAYNE DaCosta's SHE'S A MANEATER and FEARLESS SAMURAI are favourites to hand the champion pair of trainer Wayne DaCosta and jockey Omar Walker a historic 1000-2000 Guineas double at Caymanas Park this afternoon.
SHE'S A MANEATER, the 1000 Guineas favourite, is yet to be beaten by a filly in six starts, losing her only race to a colt - Anthony Nunes' SOTOMAYOR in December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes at a mile.
She returned in last month's seven-furlong Thornbird Stakes and closed strongly in the stretch run under Walker to win by a half-length, beating MONEY MAGNET and BILINGUAL, though encountering traffic problems with top weight 57.0 kilos down the backstretch.
FEARLESS SAMURAI won the March 18 Prince Consort Stakes in convincing fashion, putting DaCosta on track to landing a historic Guineas double - a feat completed by only five trainers - Paul Newman (1980), Kenneth Mattis (1981), Billy Williams (1991), Philip Feanny (1992 and 1993), and Gary Subratie (2011).
SHE'S A MANEATER is DaCosta's lone starter in the 1000 Guineas in which her main rivals, MARLENE MY LOVE, MONEY MAGNET and BILINGUAL, are working well, but will have to defy the handicaps, weight swings ranging from five to eight pounds coming out of the Thornbird Stakes.
BEST RACE OF CAREER
Meanwhile, FEARLESS SAMURAI, a bold front runner, ran the best race of his career in the Prince Consort, repelling a determined effort from WESTERN WARRIOR to cruise home by three lengths with Walker aboard.
FEARLESS SAMURAI is one of four runners in the event for DaCosta, setting up what should be a tactically great race, considering Nunes' BALAZO got into the one-mile event from the also-eligible position of number 18 following the withdrawal of his injured stablemates, ICTUS and DONTAE.
BALAZO returned off a near seven-month lay-up last Wednesday to win by almost 10 lengths at 1300 metres, blazing splits of 23.3, 34.4, 46.3, 58.3 and 1:12.3, ending in 1:20.2.
Nunes' second runner is SOTOMAYOR, who is yet to reproduce his winning Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes form in two races since. Speedy BALAZO, however, comes in with great credentials and is partnered by Robert Halledeen, who is fast becoming a go-to big-race jockey.
DaCosta's answer to BALAZO's potentially disturbing speed appears to be LOOSE CANNON, whose stamina limitations were exposed at six furlongs in February's Sir Howard Stakes when caught and beaten by DON CHASSIS. He returned to show that he's a mean sprinter by clocking 1:05.4 at 1100 metres last month.
FEARLESS SAMURAI showed in the Prince Consort that he was much improved. He rated well under pressure and will definitely get a mile from on or just about off the pace. It appears that the cheekpieces fitted that afternoon was what he had needed all along to settle down.