Bank on Miss Lee
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
With the disqualification of hot favourite JUNIOR MINISTER in the last race at Caymanas Park last Saturday derailing all Pick-9 bets, the carryover going into tomorrow's meet stands at $2 million.
The Super-6, however, was caught by 23 punters, each receiving $101,124.50. The Pick-9 will encompass races two to 10, the Super-6 from five to 10.
We look at the Super-6 which kicks off with a $250,000 - $210,000 claiming race over 1400 metres to be contested by 11 starters, including the down-in-class pair of MINISTEROFFINANCE and THREE QUEENS.
Both are basically better than this level on their best form, especially MINISTEROFFINANCE (apprentice Richard Mairs up) who last won on a $470,000 claming tag in August of last year.
Since then, the nine-year-old gelding has proved difficult to train, having left us with poor form last December. However, he hails from the in-form stables of 'Most Improved Trainer' Ryan Darby and, with only 51.0kg, can turn it around at the drop of a hat.
Still, preference is for THREE QUEENS who is not only down in class from $350,000 claiming, but has been looking up at exercise since last raced on December 19 when finishing 15 lengths seventh to out-of-class COLEMAN'S ROCK over 1200 metres, only a length ahead of MINISTEROFFINANCE.
MISS LEE, having moved impressively at exercise for this her initial outing, should make a winning debut in the sixth race over the straight for maiden three-year-olds. Trained by 14-time champion Philip Feanny, the grey filly by Western Classic out of Fight For Pleasure looked real sharp at exercise last Saturday morning when galloping from the gate in 59.4, the last four in 46.1. She should win from CRUCIAL CAT in the 15-strong field.
AL FOUZIA vs EXCELLENCE
Briefly, the seventh race, the $1.3-million Thornbird Stakes (Guineas trial) over 1400 metres should resolve itself into a straight fight between AL FOUZIA and EXCELLENCE, both reporting well and truly prepared. The Rowan Mathie-trained AL FOUZIA was voted the champion two-year-old filly of last season and, being the 'class' in the 16-strong field, is given the edge over Wayne DaCosta's EXCELLENCE.
Then, take MAGNIFICO, having beaten better in the not-too-distant past, to lead home BUCKTHEMINISTER and SIMPLY AWESOME in the eighth over 1600 metres for $180,000 claimers, while the unbeaten 3-y-o gelding LIFEISJUSFORLIVING cannot be opposed in the ninth, the Prince Consort Stakes (trial) over 1400 metres. Then close the programme with ESTO PERPETUA (fit) following her close third to RHOSA KLEBB over 1100 metres recently. RIP CURRENT (working well) looks her main danger.
(5) THREE QUEENS/MINISTEROFFINANCE
(6) MISS LEE
(7) AL FOUZIA/EXCELLENCE
(10) ESTO PERPETUA/RIP CURRENT