Zephyr storms home in St Catherine Cup
ZEPHYR produced a tremendous late charge yesterday to split SIEMPRE BUENO and even-money favourite MONEY MAGNET close home for a 7-1 upset victory in the 1100-metre St Catherine Cup.
Vastly improved since the middle of last season, the five-year-old mare broke on top in the five-horse field from postposition one, but was relegated by speedy SIEMPRE BUENO and CRUCIAL APPEAL.
Running fast on the lead with champion apprentice Anthony Thomas, SIEMPRE BUENO led into the lane while MONEY MAGNET swooped down from her wide draw with Dick Cardenas to give chase off the turn.
However, burdened by topweight 56.5 kilos, MONEY MAGNET failed to quicken sufficiently whereas SIEMPRE BUENO found another gear under Thomas and blasted into the last furlong a clear leader.
Though he tried his best to steal home, SIEMPRE BUENO started coming back inside the last half-furlong and was being reeled in by MONEY MAGNET when ZEPHYR, who was always close and mending in the straight, produced an electrifying late rally to force her way between horses.
The trio thundered to the wire in a head-bobbing finish, which ZEPHYR, running lightest at 51.5 kilos, poked her head in front to win a three-way photo finish by a neck with apprentice Jerome Innis for trainer Wayne Parchment.
The chestnut mare won in a fast 1:05.2, her first open allowance win, turning the tables on SIEMPRE BUENO and third-place MONEY MAGNET, horses who had beaten her in three of her last four races.
Though Thomas lost the feature race by a neck with SIEMPRE BUENO, the champion apprentice landed a three-timer on the 10-race card.
He opened the programme astride 2-1 shot EXECUTIVE CHARM for inform trainer Patrick Lynch and returned to land the fourth in a driving finish aboard Gary Subratie's REGAL PROSPECTOR.
Thomas, who finished third in last year's jockeys' championship with 53 winners, including victory from a chance ride aboard SHE'S A MANEATER in the Superstakes, closed the programme with a well-timed come-from-behind win astride Uton Stewart's HEY CHAMP at 1400 metres.
Shane Ellis, who won two races on Monday's New Year's Day meet, notched another double to be the leading rider two meets into the season.
He opened his account by taking a quick double with MARKOFAPRINCE aboard whom he had won on Monday. The back-to-form six-year-old gelding made all to win the 1200-metre fourth race at odds of 5-1 for trainer Dale Murphy.
Ellis' second winner was Patrick Fong's LICI'S PEPSI, who outclassed her rivals to win the eighth, a maiden event for three-year-old fillies.
Meanwhile, reigning six-time champion jockey, Omar Walker, made a successful return from injury, booting home 6-5 favourite ARMAGEDDON in the sixth event, one of two mounts he had booked after being out a week shy of three months with a broken wrist.
Despite ZEPHYR's 7-1 upset and FREEDOM FOR EDS 12-1 stunner in the seventh event, the late Pick-4 was caught, yielding $222,000 payouts.
However, the Pick-4's single-winner bonus remained intact and stands at $2.8m for next Saturday's meet.