Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Brawn for GG Stakes

Published:Saturday | September 23, 2017 | 12:08 AMAinsley Walters
BRAWN, with Aaron Chatrie aboard, winning the Nigel B. Nunes Memorial Cup over 1820 metres on September 2.

BIGDADDYKOOL has a point to prove in this afternoon's 10-furlong Governor General's Stakes, sitting atop the handicaps with 57.0 kilos, renewing rivalry with WILL IN CHARGE, who used almost the same weight, 49.5 kilos, to beat him by a neck at the distance in last month's Prime Minister's Stakes.

Throw into the mix United States-bred BRAWN, a powerful winner at 1820 metres after finally discarding his wayward gate habit in the Nigel Nunes Memorial and returns with 51.0 kilos, dropping a whopping 14lb after clocking a fast 1:55.1 with 126lb.

Less than two months away from the 10-furlong Superstakes, if BIGDADDYKOOL pulls off a win at the handicaps, he would only have the Triple Crown winner, the feisty SHE'S A MANEATER, to worry about at 53.0 kilos, because the remainder of the line-up, bar three-year-old colts, would be sitting level with him at 57.0 kilos.

WILL IN CHARGE is one of the older horses whose connections believe they genuinely have a shot in the Superstakes, worth $4.5m last year. Proclamations were made after the four-year-old colt closed a hat-trick of wins by hanging on to beat BIGDADDYKOOL in the Prime Minister's Stakes, albeit in receipt of 17lb.

Though he returns only a pound heavier, the Governor General's Stakes, however, will be a different cup of tea, possibly a bitter one for WILL IN CHARGE. In the Prime Minister's Stakes, the chestnut colt had things his way and was able to use his strong pace as a miler, plus light impost, to speed away from topweight BIGDADDYKOOL and English import KALAMATA, who is even slower.

This time around, a true pace is expected especially with BIGDADDYKOOL's stablemate, HOUDINI'S MAGIC, having developed early pace this season and Wesley Henry preferring his mounts on the lead. WILL IN CHARGE, as light as he may be, won't have the luxury of being a lone speed this time around.

That, however, does not hand the race on a platter to BIGDADDYKOOL. At the handicaps, BRAWN stands out like a sore thumb, receiving 14lb from BIGDADDYKOOL, who only beat him by a length-and-three-quarter at 1820 metres when giving him five pounds in April's Legal Light Trophy.

BRAWN's fate rests with what he does at the start of his races, never the sort in which to deposit total trust. However, he seems, for whatever reason, to get a cleaner break in his route races as opposed to the antics he keeps up whenever he leaves the gate down the backstretch.

The closers, BIGDADDYKOOL and BRAWN are the horses who should fight out the finish. Both enjoy two turns and have looked well at exercise. The return of Panamanian Dick Cardenas to the island has apparently eased Linton Steadman out of the job aboard BIGDADDYKOOL, who takes a lot of riding especially whenever the pace quickens at the half-mile.

At 51.0 kilos, BRAWN must be one of the most tempting horses on the 10-race card. To be that light at a distance which he will relish, his main rival being 14lb heavier, cannot be ignored.

Aaron Chatrie knows him like a book and had warmed him up extensively before he entered the gate for the Nigel Nunes. A similar performance from BRAWN should take him home, fingers crossed.