Diamond feast for DaCosta's 'Maneater'
DIAMONDS are a girl's best friend, especially if she's a 'Maneater', unbeaten in her last eight races, gobbling up the boys and men in the Triple Crown and Superstakes, respectively.
Having created history by handing Wayne DaCosta his first Superstakes win on November 11, the flying filly is all set to give the 16-time champion trainer a third consecutive Diamond Mile victory.
DaCosta dominated the first two runnings of the $14.2m event with SEEKING MY DREAM and is on a hat-trick from as many tries.
Standing between SHE'S A MANEATER and the Supreme Ventures Limited Diamond Mile winner's purse of $6.7m is last year's runner-up, Anthony Nunes' BIGDADDYKOOL, the horse she floored to win the Superstakes at 10 furlongs.
However, BIGDADDYKOOL failed to beat SHE'S A MANEATER in his backyard, a two-turn race, and now has it all to do at a mile against his younger, quicker and more versatile rival.
The Superstakes, really, was BIGDADDYKOOL's best chance to beat SHE'S A MANEATER. She was facing grade one for the first time, having gone two turns only twice, clocking an innocuous 2:08.2 for 10 furlongs whereas her older and more experienced foe entered the ring as the country's most consistent 2:06.0 horse.
Her only real advantage, on paper, was the 10lb she was receiving from BIGDADDYKOOL, which, by the way, is not much different in the Diamond Mile, only a pound less, begging the question of why should she lose with the distance now two furlongs shorter.
BIGDADDYKOOL's enemy is his lack of early pace going a mile, which, for really classy horses such as two-time winner SEEKING MY DREAM and now, his stablemate, SHE'S A MANEATER, is almost a sprint race.
Finishing second behind SEEKING MY DREAM, beaten by five-and-a-half lengths, in last year's race, carrying 53.0 kilos, BIGDADDYKOOL barely got there ahead of stablemate HOUDINI'S MAGIC (55.0), who, it should be noted, afterwards spanked him right and proper at seven furlongs in July's Eros Trophy.
Now burdened with 57.0 kilos, BIGDADDYKOOL allows SHE'S A MANEATER almost 10lb, a horse who spun off 1:24.3 for seven furlongs at exercise, six days before the Superstakes.
Truth be told, the entire field is at her mercy, handicaps considered. The sprinters are heavy, so too the middle-distance horses such as HOUDINI'S MAGIC, WILL IN CHARGE, CHOO CHOO BLUE and her friend, ANOTHER BULLET, even poor LOTTERY TICKET.
Dane Nelson, it is hoped, will make weight, 53.0 kilos aboard SHE'S A MANEATER, though unable to catch 54.0 on Superstakes Day. He rode LOOSE CANNON at 54.5 before calling it a day, sick, right after losing in a driving finish.
There is a lot riding on the Diamond Mile with Nunes breathing down DaCosta's neck in the trainers' championship, a mere $2.145m away.
Nunes is fighting a battle on two fronts. He is desperately trying to dethrone DaCosta while hoping his mainstay, Stephan Narinesingh, BIGDADDYKOOL's owner, retains his title ahead of Winston Kong, who is $1.49m behind and banking on SHE'S A MANEATER.