Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Last year's Derby winner, TECHNO-MOTO, goes for his first win since that memorable day last June when he takes on six opponents in the Calvin O'Sullivan Memorial Cup overnight allowance feature over 1820 metres at Caymanas Park today.
Although failing to win a race in 10 months, the Anthony Nunes-trained 4-y-o colt had been running against horses he just could not beat in six subsequent races. They include St Leger winner COMMANDING CHIEF and Superstakes winner MARK MY WORD, who beat him twice in the closing weeks of last season, including the grade one Harry Jackson Memorial Cup over 2400 metres on Boxing Day - a race in which he finished 19 lengths third to the outgoing Horse of the Year.
He was highly fancied to win on his seasonal debut over 1200 metres in overnight company on March 24, but bolted prior to the start and was declared a late non-starter.
By virtue of his intense preparation coming into this race, TECHNOMOTO will not be easily denied with only 53kg and customary rider Dick Cardenas. He has been turning in bullet work after bullet work at exercise in recent weeks, galloping seven furlongs in a brisk 1:28.0 on the morning of April 2, and a fast 1:13.2 for six furlongs on Sunday.
With his preparation complete, TECHNO-MOTO should make all in present company. TRIAL LAWYER, a recent post-to-post winner in high-claiming company, will be coming to keep him honest. But he lacks the class of TECHNOMOTO, and bigger dangers to my selection should be the 2009 Superstakes winner HOMBRE (better for recent pipe opener) and the late-kicking PRINCE ROHAN, a stable companion of TECHNOMOTO.
PRINCE ROHAN, who is forever late with his runs, has caught the eye at exercise alongside stable companion and subsequent 2000 Guineas winner UNCLE DONNY and should be good enough to close in for the exacta.
Another win expected for Cardenas
Elsewhere on the nine-race programme, which commences at 1:05 p.m., Cardenas should also win the second race over the straight aboard the recent winner ROMEZ.
The veteran campaigner won in the fairly good time of 1:07.0 after getting up in the nick of time to catch MACHISMO in a driving finish, and having shown a liking for the straight, the eight-year-old son of Pat N Jac should repeat at the expense of EMERGENCE and NASATOL.
Other firm fancies on the card are EIGHTEEN KARAT (fourth race) to repeat under leading jockey Dane Nelson, down-in-class OAKRUN to catch SIR VALIANT and DAYTON'S LAW in the sixth over the straight, OUT FOR JUSTICE in the seventh and DI COBRE (knocking at the door) to outfinish Al-AFIRTIE in the closing race.
CAPTION: Dane Nelson gets down to work as he pushes BLAST THE AWAY (left) to a three-length victory over the Dick Cardenas-ridden TRENDSETTER (out of photo) and third-place RIGHT MARKER (centre), with Paul 'Country' Francis aboard, in 'The Alsafra 2008', a 3-y-o & Up Open Allowance event over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park on Saturday. RIO COBRE (right), with Andre Martin astride, placed fifth. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer