Hop on DaCosta's Hover Craft
Ainsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
HOVER CRAFT has the handicaps in his favour and could emerge from the shadow of PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, his more illustrious stablemate, in this afternoon's 10-furlong Governor General's Stakes.
Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta has three runners in the event - HOVER CRAFT, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and DYSFUNCTIONAL - ganging up on their main rival, Ian Parsard's SUPERLUMINAL.
Returning at 119lb, SUPERLUMINAL sits level with PERFECT NEIGHBOUR who he had beaten by three-quarter length for second behind WILL IN CHARGE in the Prime Minister's Stakes a month ago, both carrying 110lb.
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR was slowly away from the gate and ran well to get within three-quarter length of second-place SUPERLUMINAL, who tried hard but was outclassed by WILL IN CHARGE.
Though boasting contrasting running styles, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and SUPERLUMINAL are proven 10-furlong specialists, leaving the race hinged on tactics and pace.
SUPERLUMINAL rebounded to form, two races off a four-month layup, with a strong overnight allowance victory over useful DONTAE, going his signature distance on August 6.
HARD TO BEAT
Parsard's runner skipped class 19 days later and bravely took his chances against WILL IN CHARGE in the Prime Minister's Stakes, a run which should make him hard to beat if he gets a chance to control the pace.
However, SUPERLUMINAL will have HOUDINI'S MAGIC and DYSFUNCTIONAL to contend with, leaving him open to DaCosta's two closers - PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and HOVER CRAFT.
Sneaking in under the handicaps, HOVER CRAFT is no 10-furlong specialist but will get at least 14lb from HOUDINI'S MAGIC and seven each from PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and SUPERLUMINAL, making him the fly in the ointment.
The eight-year-old gelding flew home at odds of 15-1 to beat sprinters at five furlongs straight two weeks ago, albeit returning off a near four-month play-up, carrying 126lb to boot, winning the event in 57.2, nailing speedy CRUCIAL APPEAL at the wire.
With that recent blowout victory under his girth and getting seven pounds from SUPERLUMINAL and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, horses who he has extended in two-turn races before, makes HOVER CRAFT an enticing choice to upstage the specialists at a decent price.
The last time HOVER CRAFT faced slowly declining PERFECT NEIGHBOUR was March, in the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy, at nine furlongs and 25 yards, losing by a half-length, getting 14lb from his stablemate. PERFECT NEIGHBOUR had to fight tooth and nail to stave off DONTAE and HOVER CRAFT, who ran out of character by leading the event, which his stablemate won at odds of 2-5.