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Nunes still in charge - Champion trainer remains confident despite losing top horse ABOVE AND BEYOND

Published:Thursday | September 10, 2020 | 12:07 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
ABOVE AND BEYOND (in front) being ridden by Dane Nelson during the Jamaica 1000 Guineas at Caymanas Park earlier this year.
ABOVE AND BEYOND (in front) being ridden by Dane Nelson during the Jamaica 1000 Guineas at Caymanas Park earlier this year.

Reigning champion trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes says that despite the sudden retirement of his outstanding filly ABOVE AND BEYOND, he remains confident that he will retain this year’s trainer’s title.

ABOVE AND BEYOND, the top three-year-old filly in the country, has been sent to stud after suffering a career-ending slab fracture of the left front knee. This after winning the Jamaica Oaks on August 29 at Caymanas Park.

The chestnut filly by Blue Pepsi Lodge-Rumble was also the winner of the 1000 Guineas, and was seen as a major contender for next month’s Jamaica Derby, having raked in just over $4.7 million in total stakes from her eight starts.

Nunes admitted that losing ABOVE AND BEYOND will put a dent in his campaign, but stated that he has other weapons in his stable and that he remains determined to again come out on top this year.

“It (retirement) must affect it (title defence) because she is a top horse, but it doesn’t mean that one horse should really be the deciding factor in winning a championship,” Nunes told The Gleaner.

“It hurts, but we have been in the game long enough to know that is part of the game and we move on from there,” he added. “Put it this way, I prefer the position that I am in now to anybody else, and so we are just going to keep working.”

Nunes, who is aiming to successfully defend his trainer’s championships title, currently holds a $9-million lead over last year’s dethroned champion and long-time rival, Wayne DaCosta.

He also holds a $10-million lead over trainer Gary Subratie, who will saddle the ante-post favourite WOW WOW in the Derby.

Nunes will now pin his hopes on the ever-improving three-year-old colt ONEOFAKIND for the remainder of the Classics season.

“What you can expect is for us to continue to work hard, and hopefully the winners will continue to come,” said Nunes. “I have ONEOFAKIND that will be in the St Leger, and that is where we will have to pin our hopes for the rest of the Classics.”

“He is a nice staying colt because he is coming on and maturing late. He stays every inch of 10 or 12 furlongs, but whether or not he has the class of a MAHOGANY or WOW WOW, only time will tell,” Nunes underscored.