Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Sir Howard Stakes tailored for Nipster

Published:Saturday | February 22, 2020 | 12:16 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
NIPSTER ...favoured for Sir Howard Stakes.
NIPSTER ...favoured for Sir Howard Stakes.

GARY Subratie’s NIPSTER had the perfect warm-up behind his monster-of-a-stablemate, WOW WOW, two weeks ago at six and a half furlongs, making him tough to beat in this afternoon’s Sir Howard Stakes.

Likewise, Wayne DaCosta’s ENGLAND’S ROSE, whose return has been well anticipated by pundits ahead of the classic season, should easily reproduce her scintillating exercise gallops and put the Hot Line Stakes field to shame.

Who could have guessed that the sanctity of the Sir Howard and Hotline Stakes, three-year-old events traditionally restricted to non-winners of two races, would have been broken by new conditions allowing ENGLAND’S ROSE, already a winner of two races, to face non-winners-of-two, even worse, sharing topweight 126lb with Gary Subratie’s ANOTHER AFFAIR.

Any hope harboured by ENGLAND’S ROSE’s five rivals will remain exactly that, hope, as there is absolutely no doubt that the out-of-class filly will turn what should have been an interesting race into a farce.

Meanwhile, NIPSTER ran his best race ever, beaten two and a quarter lengths to finish in 1:18.4 behind WOW WOW’s 1:18.2, settling third while SHE’S A HIT ripped splits of 22.3. After WOW WOW took over, NIPSTER got closer to the half-mile split of 45.3 in the stretch run, being a length second a furlong out.

Competitive chase

Before that run, NIPSTER, carrying 121lb, chased MAHOGANY with 114lb at seven furlongs on January 18, causing him to lose second on the line to TOMOHAWK. MAHOGANY impressively dismissed foreign-breds last Sunday, clocking 1:31.2 for seven and a half furlongs, a run which franked NIPSTER’s valiant effort.

ADORATION and GREEN GOLD RUSH both won impressively on their January 25 and 26 debuts, respectively, but are only seven pounds off a hardened NIPSTER, who has been through the fire all of six times, winning first time out as a two-year-old last October then having to endure unenviable tasks of facing WOW WOW four times and MAHOGANY once.

Elsewhere on the 10-race card, having shown real class in his three victories, clocking awesome times, SPARKLE DIAMOND, if he’s back to his best, should have the beating of his overnight allowance rivals at five furlongs round. However, Alford Brown’s TREVOR’S CHOICE, carrying 110lb, seeking a hat-trick of wins after toting topweight 126lb and clocking 58.2 a month ago, needs only one wrong move from the foreigner to put him to the sword.

SPARKLE DIAMOND, racing out of his third barn in five starts, now taking orders from Errol Waugh after three consecutive victories under the care of Ralph Porter, returns to the races after a near seven-month break.

The United States-bred four-year-old colt was scratched at the gate, injured, on August 24, dashing any hopes his connections had of racking purse earnings to qualify for the Diamond Mile. SPARKLE DIAMOND, in his best workout since returning to training, clocked 1:13.2 for six furlongs on February 8, two weeks ago, followed by an easy 1:04.2 for five furlongs last Saturday morning.