Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Above And Beyond a cinch for Oaks

Published:Saturday | August 29, 2020 | 12:16 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

BLESSED with pace, stamina, and pedigree, ABOVE AND BEYOND might have never ventured past a mile in a race but neither has any of her nine rivals she faces in this afternoon’s 10-furlong Jamaica Oaks.

Possessing class in abundance, having beaten the likes of 2000 Guineas runner-up MAHOGANY late last year, ABOVE AND BEYOND has no excuse not to flatten rivals again after romping the fillies’ Guineas by six and a quarter lengths.

Of the four newcomers in the 10-horse Oaks field, Richard Azan’s SHEPANZA readily catches the eye after finishing third behind colts GREEN GOLD RUSH and FEARLESS CHAMPION on August 6. She returned to gallop six furlongs in 1:12.0 at exercise on Monday morning and will be treated with lasix for the Oaks, so expect the American Dance-Beware Baby filly, a half-sister to BIGDADDYKOOL (Sorrentino) and SUPREME SOUL (Soul Warrior), to report improved.

However, exercise watchers have reported that a freak storm, during the inclement weather affecting the island recently, could have been responsible for SHEPANZA’s lightning-fast time at exercise on Monday.

In addition, she is a late filly out of a staying sire, American Dance, foaled mid-June, having turned three less than two months ago, as opposed to ABOVE AND BEYOND, who was born in February and has seven runs, including a classic win, under her girth.

Though ABOVE AND BEYOND was sired by the sprint stallion, Blue Pepsi Lodge, similar to SHEPANZA, she is also related to SUPREME SOUL and BIGDADDYKOOL, her dam being Rumble (Graeme Hall-Beware Baby), explaining her staying ability and relatively fair speed.


WOW WOW, the 2000 Guineas champion, hunts his 12th straight win in the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy at nine furlongs and 25 yards, facing three stars from last season’s classic campaign – Triple Crown-winner SUPREME SOUL, TOONA CILIATA, and PRINCESS AVA – all from Anthony Nunes’ barn.

No more than three-quarter length separated Nunes’ trio in last year’s St Leger, SUPREME SOUL outfinishing TOONA CILIATA by a short head and PRINCESS AVA storming at them after suffering traffic problems in the stretch run.

PRINCESS AVA recently completed a hat-trick of wins, defeating SENTIENT in back-to-back races, and comes in light at 112lb with Dick Cardenas. TOONA CILIATA has benefited from ‘handicapping by distance’, dropping from 130lb in his last race to 126, rather outlandish, considering he is better going longer as opposed to the six and a half furlong, which he won with the big weight.

SUPREME SOUL has got his mojo back but is bound to exceed the 117lb with which Dane Nelson has been declared. Though he had to struggle against overnight allowance company a month ago, the distance is his backyard, and he has conquered his peers going two turns.

WOW WOW, though, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Apart from his debut loss to ENGLAND’S ROSE as a two-year-old in a blink sprint, the classy colt has shown not one crack in his armour.

Reporting at 117lb, nine lighter than the 126 with which he clocked 1:37.3 in the Guineas, chasing record splits set by MAHOGANY, who almost smashed the eight and a half furlong track record on his return, makes WOW WOW an enticing proposition against the older horses.