Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Exhilarating upset for Gladiator Trophy

Published:Sunday | December 8, 2019 | 12:45 AMAinsley Walters - Sunday Gleaner Writer

EXHILARATE destroys a class field to win the Gladiator Trophy ahead of SUPERLUMINAL and TOONA CILIATA at Caymanas PArk yesterday. He was being ridden by Aaron Chatrie.
EXHILARATE destroys a class field to win the Gladiator Trophy ahead of SUPERLUMINAL and TOONA CILIATA at Caymanas PArk yesterday. He was being ridden by Aaron Chatrie.

LEADING trainer Anthony Nunes’ EXHILARATE yesterday scored an 11-1 upset victory in the seven-furlong Gladiator Trophy, stunning rivals, including stablemate TOONA CILIATA, the overwhelming 1-9 favourite, and tough-as-nails SUPERLUMINAL, who won the battle for second by a neck.

A speedy filly, who had not gone in excess of six and a half furlongs in her last 10 starts, EXHILARATE hopped to the front with Aaron Chatrie and used her pace, plus lightweight 112lb, to run her more heralded rivals off their legs. Straightening with a two-length advantage ahead of SUPERLUMINAL and TOONA CILIATA, both pushed by their riders, EXHILARATE found a previously unknown gear and kept running strong to the wire, winning by two lengths in a smart 1:24.4.

TOONA CILIATA, coming off a runaway victory, a week and a half ago, after finishing second in the Superstakes and third in the Diamond Mile, failed to fire, chasing stinging splits of 46.4 and 1:10.4 when his stablemate quickened.

Nunes secured third with TOONA CILIATA and fourth with in-form BRUCE WAYNE, grabbing valuable purse, which, along with other placings throughout the 10-race card, pushed his stakes take for the day to more than $1.1M, doubling the near $550,000 bagged by rival Wayne DaCosta.

DaCosta, the defending champion hunting a 19th title, now trails Nunes by a little over $6m after landing the ninth event for two-year-olds with MY TIME NOW at a mile. Philip Feanny’s CRYPTOCURRENCY closed the card with an exciting victory, winning the RON RON trophy by a neck from ROY ROGERS, who also had a neck to spare over FORMAL FASHION in a bang-up finish in which Nunes’ LATAPY, fourth past the post, was stopped along the rail inside the last half-furlong.

The new apprentices, led by Marshall Porter’s two-timer, got off to an encouraging start on their first day out among seasoned riders.

Youville Pinnock narrowly lost the opening event at three furlongs straight aboard DETERMINE KING, caught and beaten by a neck by jockey Linton Steadman astride TWO STEPS UP, who had the benefit of the track bias, which favours horses near the stands’ side.

Marshall was awarded the second event aboard MOUNT ZION KING after his mount was hindered by STRUCK BY GRACE, partnered by leading rider Christopher Mamdeen, who is still an apprentice from the previous batch of jockey-school graduates.

The new apprentice returned to seal back-to-back wins, needing no help from the stewards, going all the way with 39-1 outsider FREEDOM FOR EDS at three furlongs straight.

Racing continues at Caymamas Park on Saturday.