Orpheus to capture feature
ANTHONY Nunes' ORPHEUS is primed to win his first-ever open allowance race, this afternoon's 1500-metre King's Plate, taking on six rivals, including recent winner ANOTHER BULLET and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who is down in class from grade one after a near seven-month layup.
ORPHEUS gave a sharp reminder of his class on his last run, January 27, clocking 1:24.0 for seven furlongs, carrying topweight 57.0 kilos - the fastest time at the distance since CHOO CHOO BLUE won the Gold Cup last October in 1:23.4 with 51.0 kilos.
Remember this was the horse who was historically awarded the 2016 Jamaica Derby in the stewards' room, following the double disqualification of FUTURE KING and BIGDADDYKOOL, his own stablemate, after which he broke down on the lead in the St Leger three weeks later.
It took Nunes 13 months to get ORPHEUS back to the races, and the five-year-old has settled in nicely, seemingly ready to join BIGDADDYKOOL in grade one, where he would have been had he not broken down in the St Leger two years ago.
ANOTHER BULLET and eight-year-old PERFECT NEIGHBOUR are the other class horses in the event. PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, the 2013 Derby and St Leger winner, has worked well, but returns with topweight 57.0 kilos off a long layup.
Even though PERFECT NEIGHBOUR's exercise reports are glowing and tempting, carrying 57.0 kilos at a distance short of his best, even when at his best, looks pressing for the now eight-year-old warrior.
SHINING LIGHT, ZEPHYR and LITTLE BIG HORN are the speed horses in the line-up, setting up what should be a stalker's race to win.
The speedsters who matter, ZEPHYR and SHINING LIGHT, are sitting too close in the weights to ANOTHER BULLET and ORPHEUS, nullifying their chances of stealing a march at 1500 metres, whereas LITTLE BIG HORN won't stay the distance.
ANOTHER BULLET has the handicaps in his favour, a possible 12lb weight swing, out of his last meeting with ORPHEUS when both were beaten by MONEY MAGNET at 1200 metres on December 16.
Whereas Patrick Lynch has called on Anthony Thomas to slip two kilos off ANOTHER BULLET to run with 50.0, after his strong overnight allowance winner in the 1300-metre Ash Wednesday Trophy, Nunes has decided to stick with Shane Ellis, who will go overweight, carrying a declared 53.5 kilos, possibly 54.0.
However, ANOTHER BULLET is venturing about a furlong outside his best distance in an event with speed, which should hold for at least six furlongs, keeping him busy enough for ORPHEUS to capitalise on his superior closing strength.