Rivalry renewed - Wow Wow, Mahogany square off over 10 furlongs in St Leger today
WOW WOW’s loss to the country’s top handicapper, TOONA CILIATA, was a speed bump in his Triple Crown quest, which continues this afternoon, a 10-furlong St Leger rematch with MAHOGANY, the gelding he ran down to convincingly win the 2000 Guineas two months ago.
MAHOGANY, who led the Guineas in tearaway splits of 23.1, 33.4, 45.0 and 57.1, ridden by wide-eyed Dane Dawkins, returned three weeks later with six-time champion jockey Omar Walker to rip apart older horses in an overnight allowance at eight and a half furlongs, getting within four-fifths of the track record in a 10-length win.
Walker displayed how Dawkins should have handled the first half-mile of the Guineas, 45.4, as opposed to 45.0, then eased into 1:10.0 for six furlongs and 1:36.2 for the mile, after which MAHOGANY stopped the clock in 1:43.0.
The ‘what-ifs’ have since been deafening, especially with MAHOGANY blasting 1:25.2 for seven furlongs at exercise last Sunday morning, a brilliant piece of work which would sway any doubting Thomas.
However, WOW WOW’s follow-up race, though not as glitzy as MAHOGANY’s brush with the track record, was certainly gutsy and technically two classes higher than his rival’s romp against overnight allowance runners, carrying only 117lb.
WOW WOW took on the country’s top-rated horse, TOONA CILIATA, being allowed only eight pounds, and ran the race of his life, his best performance yet, at nine furlongs and 25 yards, losing by five lengths in a graded-stakes time of 1:53.3.
TOONA CILIATA had posted the exact time, 1:53.3, last November after finishing third in the Diamond Mile and second in the Superstakes, races won by SHE’S A MANEATER.
NO FEAR OF TWO TURNS
Against TOONA CILIATA, WOW WOW proved that he belongs in graded stakes and has no fear of two turns, whereas MAHOGANY has never tackled a route race in his eight starts. WOW WOW’s come-from-behind win in the Guineas confirmed his stamina and class, which will be crucial at 10 furlongs.
Sitting level at 126lb with MAHOGANY in the one-mile Guineas, WOW WOW closed eight lengths on him from the half-mile to win by three, recording a fast 1:37.3.
MAHOGANY carried 117lb and annihilated mainly slower overnight allowance horses in a sprint out of the chute. He will have to prove his stamina at 10 furlongs, sitting level at 126lb with WOW WOW, who was slowly into stride in the Guineas and still managed to catch him a furlong and a half out.
Busting the clock in 1:25.2 certainly looks good on MAHOGANY’s résumé. However, that same morning, two-year-old SUPER DUPER and the filly SWEET TOPPINS galloped together, posting 1:06.2 and 1:06.3, respectively, for five and a half furlongs. Notoriously slow TRICKY ONE galloped 1:00.4 for five furlongs, suggesting the track was on the fast side.
WOW WOW, as usual, breezed seven furlongs in a deceptive 1:29.0, conserving his energy for the real deal, 10 furlongs of the St Leger, as he aims at the Triple Crown.