Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Sir Alton to delight DaCosta today

Published:Saturday | November 14, 2020 | 12:11 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
SIR ALTON, ridden by Anthony Thomas.
SIR ALTON, ridden by Anthony Thomas.

Wayne DaCosta has a lot riding on SIR ALTON in this afternoon’s ninth event, an open allowance/graded stakes at six furlongs, which, on paper, presents itself as an innocent rematch between his importee, SIR ALTON, and GOD OF LOVE, both of whom were upstaged by SENTIENT at the distance a month ago.

The plot is between the lines where DaCosta, trying desperately to reel in Anthony Nunes, who broke his 13-year reign as champion trainer last season, watched his rival maintain his stakes lead yesterday after starting the afternoon approximately $1 million ahead.

DaCosta, having won the Jamaica Derby with KING ARTHUR, amid a purple patch, had knocked down Nunes’ lead to a little under $1 million as at last Saturday.

The battling trainers each logged a winner yesterday, Nunes teaming up with title-chasing jockey, Dane Nelson, to post STANISLAUS in the seventh event.

DaCosta’s sole winner was TOMOHAWK, who outstayed non-winners-of-two rivals to win the Simply Magic Cup at nine furlongs and 25 yards with leading rider Anthony Thomas.

SIR ALTON could be the icebreaker for DaCosta. At stake for the 18-time champion trainer is approximately $1.1 million, the winners’ share of this afternoon’s $2 million open allowance/graded stakes.

SIR ALTON enjoys an 11lb swing on GOD OF LOVE, who he had rallied to head off behind SENTIENT, after chasing his rival’s lightning-fast splits, having raced only six days earlier, winning six furlongs in a stakes record 1:10.2.

Not only was SIR ALTON racing for the second time in six days, the October 10 event was his fourth race in 31 days, 29 and a half furlong’s worth of fast times, including a stakes record at five and a half, suggesting the three-year-old dark bay colt was asked to do too much too quickly. In addition, SIR ALTON has never been subjected to DaCosta’s rigorous training regime, which betrays a physical fragility of the foreigner.

DaCosta has stacked the field with four runners, hoping to scrape as much of the purse as possible, leaving matters in the hands of Thomas, who, himself, is in a battle with Nelson, the 2012-14 champion, atop the jockeys’ standings.

Thomas, who won his lone title as a non-claiming apprentice in 2018, had enjoyed a significant lead over his rival but has been nibbling his nails for the last two weeks as Nelson continues to whittle his advantage.

Nelson further reduced Thomas’ lead to five yesterday, booting home COLOUR ME TAN and STANISLAUS for a two-timer on the nine-race card.