Western Genius set to open account
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Ten horses from the $350,000-$300,000 claiming spread are down to contest today's Violet Armond Memorial Cup feature over 1600 metres at Caymanas Park, the field including the down-in-class WESTERN GENIUS.
Having worked well for his new trainer, Lawrence Freemantle, the five-year-old mare by Western Classic out of Diablo Forever should come into her own and prove hard to beat with only 52kg.
WESTERN GENIUS, who was claimed from trainer Tony Kirlew by Freemnantle for $415,000 after her unplaced effort behind the disqualified GUAN YU at 1400 metres on May 28, is yet to win from seven starts this season.
However, she is presented with a golden opportunity to pay an overdue visit to the winners' enclosure, with champion apprentice Doushane Gordon aboard.
WESTERN GENIUS ran her best race of the season over this trip on May 4, when finishing a close second to the front-running SKIPPING SUE in underfoot conditions, this on a $400,000 claiming tag.
Since being claimed out of her last race, WESTERN GENIUS has been stepped up at exercise by Freemantle, galloping out of the straight in 1:01.3 on Saturday, June 26, the first four in 47.1.
With her preparation complete, she looks the right choice.
Still, WESTERN GENIUS can expect stiff opposition from the old warrior, TOBAGO, also dropped in class after winning three races this season; the consistent WHITE STAR, who is coming off a recent win; and, of course, SEEK GOLD, now up in class after her runaway win over 1500 metres on June 25, this on a $250,000 claiming tag.
All should ensure a competitive race, especially the 10-year-old bay gelding TOBAGO, and the four-year-old filly WHITE STAR who has done really well under the care of trainer Paul 'Sleeper' Charlton.
Elsewhere on the nine-race programme, an interesting clash looms between the 2009 Superstakes winner, HOMBRE, and the speedy American filly FLUFFY, in the open allowance race (eighth on the card), again over 1600 metres.
Noel Ennevor's HOMBRE has been a model of consistency, winning four of his last five races, the most recent over 1800 metres on January 13.
Although out for the first time in almost six months, HOMBRE represents the class horse and will only go down fighting.
However, the choice has to be the Wayne DaCosta-trained FLUFFY, who has been burning up the track at exercise in her preparation, galloping 5 1/2 furlongs in an astonishing 1:04.3 by 58.2 last Friday morning. With only 53kg (Dane Nelson up), he should not be beaten in this small field of six.
I also like PALACE GUARD in the first race, J.R'S DREAM in the fourth, ROMEZ in the fifth, PROGRESSIVE (sixth) and SECRET WEAPON (ninth).