Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Lynch poised for St Howard, Hotline Stakes double

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
BIG BLACK NATION (Shane Ellis) is strongly fancied to win today's fifth race.

TRAINER Patrick Lynch's chances of taking the double in this afternoon's Sir Howard and Hot Line Stakes have gained traction in the last 24 hours with reports that Anthony Nunes' FASHIONISTA is on the watch list after sustaining an injury.

Lynch's DRONE STRIKE and Fitzroy Glispie's JAMAL JAMES are standouts in the Sir Howard Stakes. He also has DISABILITY CHARM in the Hot Line Stakes for fillies, going up against Philip Feanny's SERGEANT RECKLESS and FASHIONISTA , if she makes the line-up.

Confined to non-winners of two races, the 1200-metre Sir Howard and Hot Line Stakes, give horses who didn't excel as two-year-olds a chance to put some status beside their names before facing the likes of ANOTHER VIGOROUS and Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes winner, MARQUESAS, in next month's Guineas trials, the Prince Consort and Thornbird Stakes.

A shrewd trainer, who literally gives away nothing in the preparation of his horses, it is not beyond Lynch to snare the double with two well-bred runners, both partnered by hot champion apprentice Anthony Thomas, who sits atop the jockeys' standings, armed with a two-kilo claiming bug.

DRONE STRIKE is a full brother to SORRENTINIO'S STAR, a former Feanny runner, who started her career as a bright two-year-old, winning the Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy in 2015, before going off the rails.

DISABILITY CHARM, a Soul Warrior-Runin' On Empty offspring, has class at both ends. Her sire, Soul Warrior, threw United States-bred Ronron, a champion three-year-old, locally. She also has a wicked dam line, Triple Crown winner Simply Magic, who is out of that awesome United States-bred runner, Fontainbleu, a marauder of 11 races.

As his name suggests, DRONE STRIKE literally dropped from the sky on his Boxing Day debut, shocking punters at 13-1 with a late charge in the Supreme Ventures 'Super Challenge' Trophy at 1200 metres. DRONE STRIKE mowed down three horses, who all returned with head-turning victories -

EL PROFESOR, FASHIONISTA and DRUMMER BOY - yet Lynch has kept his runner at home, patiently awaiting the big day.




Blinkers and tongue tie fitted, lasix to be administered, two-kilo claiming Thomas summoned, DRONE STRIKE appears locked and loaded for the Sir Howard Stakes after clocking 1:13.1 for the distance on debut, void of equipment and medication that afternoon.

Unlike his Boxing Day preparation which comprised a handful of half-mile gallops, none better than 50.1, Lynch showed his hand last month, putting DRONE STRIKE through a six-furlong spin in which he clocked 1:15.3, beating stablemate NOTHINGBUTTHEBEST.

If DRONE STRIKE is to be stopped, it could be Fitzroy Glispie's improved JAMALJAMES, who also has classic credentials on his bottom line, 2012 Guineas winner, She's Traditional, a 99-1 shocker with Trevor Simpson.

JAMALJAMES, however, won the 1000-metre round Stewards Cup four days after DRONE STRIKE's victory, carrying 51.0 kilos with Thomas aboard, beating SACRIFICE and KJ EXPRESS, horses who are yet to get off the mark. He now has 57.0 kilos whereas DRONE STRIKE returns at 55.0, the exact weight he used to beat subsequent winners.

In the Hot Line Stakes, Nunes' FASHIONISTA's effortless 1:05.4 for 1100 metres, clocked January 6, the same day ZEPHYR beat SIEMPRE BUENO and MONEY MAGNET in 1:05.2, shows that she belongs in a different class.

However, if FASHIONISTA doesn't make the line-up, or reports below her best, DISABILITY CHARM, owned by reggae singer Cocoa Tea, could have her owner crooning his way to the winners' enclosure. In addition to running lighter than rivals at 55.0 kilos, DISABILITY CHARM will have the tongue tie fitted and lasix administered.

Feanny's SERGEANT RECKLESS made all to post a fact 1:06.4, fitted with the visor the second time out. She will race with lasix administered and could also return improved. Her dam, Code Star, is a winner producer with the likes of Derby runner-up HIDALGO among her offsprings.