Nunes set to sweep today's feature races
TRAINER Anthony Nunes is set to sweep this afternoon's feature races in his relentless pursuit to dethrone leader and reigning 16-time champion Wayne DaCosta.
Nunes has four possible winners on the 11-race card as he looks to reduce a $6.1m deficit in the trainers' championship with six race days remaining.
He has BRUCE WAYNE and AURELIA'S SUMMER in respective sections of the divided 1200-metre Jamaica Racehorse Trainers Association Trophy, as well as DONTAE in the Seymour 'Foggy' Mullings Memorial at a mile.
Nunes' go-to jockey, Panamanian Dick Cardenas, is aboard all three in addition to having the leg up on ROYAL ASSAULT in the eighth, an optional claiming event at 1000 metres straight.
Nunes' march starts with BRUCE WAYNE, who ran a surprisingly big race a month ago, beaten a length by stablemate MILARGO when running at odds of 14-1 at 1000 metres round.
ROYAL ASSAULT should have an easy job at 1000 metres straight, running against STORMING, who had handed him a mighty upset at 1100 metres last time out.
However, ROYAL ASSAULT won't be caught coming out of the straight, not by STORMING, MY WAY or FEARLESS SAMURAI, who has not been seen at exercise since claimed from DaCosta by Steven Todd.
TROUBLE FOR CARDENAS
Cardenas got into every trouble imaginable aboard AURELIA'S SUMMER last week, beaten out of sight by DaCosta's WINTER IS COMING at 1500 metres after losing a battle for second place to the same horse when both were beaten by CARTEL on November 11.
The form played out beautifully with CARTEL going up in class to win last week and WINTER IS COMING relishing the additional half-furlong to romp his race.
However, AURELIA'S SUMMER endured traffic problems the entire race, a performance which should be thrown out the window, especially with the distance reduced to 1200 metres.
DONTAE ought to have things his way at a mile in the night pan, enough cheap speed to stalk, nothing as terrifying as WESTERN WARRIOR. Even though Feanny's LIGHTNING LILY is around, when they met at 1300 metres last week, DONTAE was heads on with her at the finish and must be the horse to beat with far more real estate.
Nunes needs to earn a little over $1m in stakes for each of the six remaining racemeets this year, plus hope Wayne DaCosta endures one of his worse-ever months in decades, if he is to stop the champion trainer from winning a 17th title.
Runner-up to DaCosta too many times to remember, Nunes sits $6,130,175 behind DaCosta after the champion trainer's SHE'S A MANEATER earned him $6.7m in last week's Diamond Mile.
Nunes' intentions are clear - throw everything, from the range to the tack room, into the last six racemeets.
However, don't for a second believe DaCosta will roll over and play dead. He has UNCLE WAL in the second, blinkers fitted, and BRANDY in the 1200-metre Dye Job Sprint for two-year-olds, non-winners of two races.