Free pass for Orpheus
ORPHEUS has everything in his favour to win a second overnight allowance race in four months when he lines up against 13 rivals in this afternoon's Allan E. 'Billy' Wiliams Memorial feature at 1400 metres.
The five-year-old gets a free pass to beat the level for the second time in four months after overhauling speedy MONEY MAGNET at 1200 metres on September 23, his third start off a 13-month injury lay-up, which proved he is a cut above overnight allowance.
ORPHEUS failed to win in six subsequent races among open allowance runners for a simple reason. Having graduated after September's win, the chestnut horse, barely back to himself, was thrown to the lions, taking on the likes of Horse of the Year SHE'S A MANEATER in the Fontainbleu Trophy, followed by back-to-back races in grade one - the Gold Cup and Caribbean Sprint.
On his return to open allowance, he ran two sprint races, beaten in the first by stablemate SIEMPRE BUENO and second-place MONEY MAGNET, against whom he subsequently lost in a driving finish at 1200 metres three weeks later.
When he finally got an open allowance race which suited his running style, the 1400-metre Gladiator Trophy, on December 30, ORPHEUS was asked to give away a combined 42lb to much-improved MARVELLOUS MARVA, United States-bred BLUE DIXIE and his stablemate, SOY EL SENOR.
Running on a wet track and in a small field with topweight 57.0 kilos, Shane Ellis put ORPHEUS in front but was hounded from the start by MARVELLOUS MARVA and BLUE DIXIE, who kept at him until he gave way approaching the final half-furlong.
Game as ever, ORPHEUS rallied to outfinish BLUE DIXIE, who had attacked as a team with MARVELLOUS MARVA. However, he was nipped for second on the line by SOY EL SENOR, who was not involved in the early fractions and was closing strong at the finish.
Having exhausted his time in open allowance without a win, ORPHEUS gets an automatic drop in class to face one real rival in this afternoon's line-up, Wayne DaCosta's LOTTERY TICKET.
Since scoring a runaway win in overnight allowance last May, beating DWAYNE STAR and LORD EQUUS, LOTTERY TICKET has found open allowance, and her occasional forays into grade one, arduous tasks.
Void of early speed among top horses, the five-year-old mare gets caught too far behind and only finds top stride inside the last three-quarter furlong of her races
Though she is genuine to the core, LOTTERY TICKET is too close in the handicaps, 55.0 kilos, to chase and outfinish ORPHEUS, who will be the controlling speed. ORPHEUS' class makes him the horse to beat, even with topweight 57.0 kilos.