Do not oppose Nunes' Dontae
Anthony Nunes' DONTAE, runner-up to Saturday's graded stakes winner, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, in March's open-allowance Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy, after which he chased home stablemate HOUDINI'S MAGIC in the grade one Viceroy Trophy, is hard to oppose today, despite losing three consecutive races down in class among overnight allowance runners.
Outclassed by super-importee HILLY'S HALO a month ago in the Purewater Trophy at seven furlongs, DONTAE's susceptibility to sustained pace, especially when carrying in excess of 120lb, reared its ugly head in two previous races.
Sent off as the 3-5 favourite after finishing second to HOUDINI'S MAGIC in the grade one Viceroy Trophy at nine furlongs, beating stablemate BIGDADDYKOOL into third, DONTAE was expected to roll over rivals two classes lower at seven and a half furlongs.
However, DONTAE failed to get rolling with 126lb as a rejuvenated JAMAI RAJA reeled off a six-furlong split of 1:12.2 to win the event in 1:33.4, a pace which left Nunes' runner flat-footed in finishing fourth.
Eased somewhat in the scale for his next race, dropping six pounds for a 10-furlong event, DONTAE ran smack into fit-again SUPERLUMINAL , going down by a hard-fought length and a half. SUPERLUMINAL followed up that effort by chasing home WILL IN CHARGE in the grade one Prime Minister's Stakes two or so weeks later.
Though carrying topweight in the Kenneth Mattis Memorial, there's no real pace in the event to drag DONTAE off his bridle earlier than Linton Steadman would want, which is how the bay colt prefers running.
In addition, he has worked really well, galloping seven furlongs with his Oaks-winning stablemate, FAYROUZ, two Fridays ago, clocking 1:28.3, before returning to post 1:14.4 for six furlongs last week Thursday morning.