Commander Two the one to beat
COMMANDER TWO must be the horse to beat in this afternoon's ninth race, a restricted stakes for three-year-olds, featuring the trio which finished second to fourth behind MARQUESAS in December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes.
Facing eight rivals, five of whom are fillies sitting either level or close in the handicaps, COMMANDER TWO has nothing to fear in the line-up.
Wayne DaCosta's filly, BRANDY, and Richard Azan's colt, MY BEIRUT, finished second and third, respectively, in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes. However, neither was involved in the early fractions and only crowded a tiring COMMANDER TWO a half-furlong out.
COMMANDER TWO was always among the top two-year-olds last season. He was beaten in his first two races by WITHOUT EXCEPTION and ANOTHER VIGOROUS before finishing fifth behind PATRIARCH in October's Cash Pot Trophy, pressing the hotstepper to the home turn in splits of 22.2 and 45.4.
Against maidens, he romped to a
12-length win at 1200 metres on Superstakes Day but found PATRIARCH five and a quarter lengths better at 1400 metres in the Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy on November 25.
OUT OF COMFORT ZONE
When he returned for the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes on Boxing Day, COMMANDER TWO's connections must have got word of PATRIARCH's knee issues and decided the only way to stop the then unbeaten speedster was to take him out of his comfort zone.
COMMANDER TWO went kamikaze on the lead with PATRIARCH, splits of 23.4, 46.0 and 1:11.1 going a mile, which led to improving MARQUESAS sweeping past in the stretch run.
Whatever his instructions were on Boxing Day, non-claiming apprentice Javaniel Patterson can rest assured this afternoon that he has nobody but himself to chase off the lead and should be able to ride a race similar to Superstakes Day when he won by 12 lengths aboard the speedy gelding.
At the handicaps, BRANDY comes in level with COMMANDER TWO on 52.5 kilos, having placed second in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, a weight swing of five pounds in the gelding's favour, going a furlong shorter.
MY BEIRUT sat level at 57.0 kilos with COMMANDER TWO in the one-mile Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes and finished a length and a quarter ahead of him. However, Azan's runner was some 13 lengths behind at the top of the straight, which puts him at a major disadvantage against COMMANDER TWO, the controlling speed, at seven furlongs.
None of the horses out of the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes have been back to the races since. Unless they have improved overnight in their stalls, Patrick Taylor's COMMANDER TWO should outclass the field at the distance.