Perfect neighbour shows class in open allowance
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR used his back class to clinically beat open allowance horses yesterday, for the second time in a little over four months, confirming his status as a grade one horse - even at eight years old.
Carrying topweight 126lb at his favourite trip, nine furlongs and 25 yards, the 2013 Jamaica Derby winner sat off the pace down the backstretch with Omar Walker before moving into contention approaching the last half-mile.
JAMAI RAJA, whose connections harboured thoughts of trying to steal the race from in front with lightweight female apprentice, Melissa Ward, had his hopes dashed when another featherweight, LIGHTNING LILY, grabbed the lead at the half-mile marker.
However, Walker already had PERFECT NEIGHBOUR creeping closer, going past JAMAI RAJA three and a half furlongs out, before attacking LIGHTNING LILY coming off the home turn.
Game as she was with 110lb, hanging tough under Oneil Mullings, four-year-old LIGHTNING LILY gave way to PERFECT NEIGHBOUR a furlong out, outstayed and outclassed by the far-striding gelding, who won by a length and a half.
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR's consistency was reflected in his winning time, 1:56.1, a fifth faster than the 1:56.2 he had clocked when beating the level on March 24, getting the better of DONTAE and HOVER CRAFT in the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy.
Meanwhile, apprentice Anthony Thomas continues to run amok atop the jockeys' standings, posting a three-timer on the 10-race card, moving 27 winners clear of his new pursuer, Panamanian Dick Cardenas.
Thomas opened the card with victory astride 6-5 chance ICE ICE BABY for trainer Dwight Chen, who also won the seventh with 1-5 favourite SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS.
The hot apprentice's second winner was Errol Waugh's KINGSWOOD at even-money in the third before 1-2 favourite CRUCIAL APPEAL closed his three-timer in a driving finish over POLLY B and SMOKEY TOPAZ in the fifth.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday.