Commander Two ready for Derby
GUINEAS winner COMMANDER TWO yesterday dug in determinedly a furlong and a half out to repel a decent field of open allowance runners in his last run before the Jamaica Derby.
The bay colt easily tracked fast opening splits of 23.3 and 46.3 for the first half mile of the seven-furlong event, keeping pacesetter ARMAGEDDON honest before inching to the lead at the three-furlong pole.
Non-claiming apprentice Javaniel Patterson produced another masterful ride following his Guineas heroics, keeping his cool when swarmed by BIRDIE MY LOVE, BILINGUAL and LOTTERY TICKET coming off the home turn.
Asked to run a furlong and a half out, COMMANDER TWO responded well but had to be ridden out to last home by a length from LOTTERY TICKET and BILINGUAL, clocking a decent 1:25.3, carrying 52.0 kilos.
Though one of COMMANDER TWO's main derby rivals, DRUMMER BOY was an impressive winner of the 10-furlong Lotto Classic, trainer Patrick Taylor said he was not perturbed.
"This was just a warm-up," Taylor said after meeting the 3-5 favourite in the winners' enclosure.
"My only instruction to the jockey was for him not to be on the lead. It will be the same thing on Derby day," he warned ahead of the June 30 classic at 12 furlongs.
Patterson returned to ride a second winner on the 10-race card, making all aboard JON MARSHALL at odds of 8-5 in the seventh event at four furlongs straight.
Apprentice Oneil Scott also landed a two-timer, opening his account with 1-4 favourite BULLET RAJ at three furlongs straight.
The two-kilo claimer completed the double with a chance ride aboard 5-2 chance LADY JAELA in the eighth at five furlongs straight, replacing leading rider, Anthony Thomas, who fell from RAMBUNCTIOUS LINKS in the opening event.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday.