The Guardian looks secure
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Only eight races are slated for Caymanas Park today, none of them offering a trophy.
This being the case, the three-year-old and up overnight allowance race over the round-five course moves into the spotlight in so far as quality is concerned. Post time is 1:15 p.m.
Six have been declared for the event, including the two likely to carry the bulk of the betting - THE GUARDIAN and FOREVER MINE.
Both are actually down in class to contest this race, Wayne DaCosta's THE GUARDIAN having finished a poor sixth under a big weight to his unbeaten stable-companion CASSANOVA BOY in the valuable King's Plate (open allowance) over 1500 metres last month, a race run in record time.
Prior to that on January 23, THE GUARDIAN finished third in a blanket finish to MINISTEROFJUSTICE and COLEMAN'S ROCK over 1100 metres and, all in all, has been a model of consistency, even though seldom winning races.
His best performance in recent months was that good second to stable-companion and subsequent Horse of the Year, AHWHOFAH, in the Caribbean Sprint over 1200 metres last November. He also finished second to STEEL DE CAT in a fast run 1100-metre race (1:05.4) last October.
Having worked well in preparation for today's encounter, THE GUARDIAN must have a grand chance with champion jockey Omar Walker back in the saddle.
The five-year-old gelding will not find the distance too sharp in present company and with the speedy pair of FOREVER MINE and FIRST TIME LUCKY expected to set a fast pace into the lane, the race could just come back to him.
FOREVER MINE, however, really caught the eye when finishing a length second to MINISTEROFJUSTICE over the straight five course on February 29 when leading to the last furlong in fast splits. However, the five-year-old gelding could only manage eighth place to the same horse over 1100 metres on January 23, the race in which THE GUARDIAN was beaten in a blanket finish.
With the trip looking to be on the sharp side for DaCosta's second-string runner NEW KINGSTON, I think it will definitely come down to a two-horse race between THE GUARDIAN and FOREVER MINE under champion apprentice Doushane Gordon. THE GUARDIAN is not too heavy with 56.0kg and should successfully allow 5.0kg to FOREVER MINE.
Other firm fancies on the card are bang-in-form NASATOL to repeat in the third race over 1400 metres; MISS OLD HARBOUR to go one better at the expense of BORA BORA in the fourth race for maidens; NATURALLY ROYAL to stave off old rival THE BEST MAN in the fifth; and JUNIOR MINISTER over ASANTEWA in the eighth and final for maiden three-year-olds.