Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The 3-2 favourite RED FLAG held off the late charge of highly fancied JET SETTER to win the open allowance race over 1400 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday, to push his lifetime earnings to $3.6 million.
Toting the light impost of 50.0kg with Devon A. Thomas aboard, RED FLAG was ridden to chase the early leader CLASSIC BEAU passing the half-mile, before going through leaving the 600-metre marker.
But Thomas had to roll him over to first repel a feeble challenge from topweight HOMBRE (7-2) approaching the distance, then holding the fast-finishing JET SETTER (8-5) at bay by 11/2 lengths, with HOMBRE finishing third. Eight ran.
A consistent 4-y-o bay gelding by Pat N Jac out of Yankee Princess, RED FLAG is co-owned and bred by Owen and Solomon Sharpe, and trained by Owen Sharpe.
An elated Solomon said he was very confident of victory, describing RED FLAG as one of the most genuine and consistent horses in training.
"He has not finished worse than second in his last nine races and on a line through SWEET TRAIL, who beat him by a short head over 1300 metres on April 28 and came back to chase home COMMANDING CHIEF, was definitely the pick of the weights today," said Sharpe.
On a day when the Gary Griffiths-trained AWESOME WILDCAT made all under Clive Lynch to score an 11-1 upset in the Dr. David 'Jack' Radix Memorial Cup over 1820 metres, the real excitement was reserved for the seventh race, the JRC Jockeys' Training School Race over 1100 metres, won by the 6-5 favourite BURNING MEDIC.
This race, a 4-y-o and up maiden special contested by 14 starters, saw the introduction of the new batch of apprentices currently being trained at the Jockeys' School to race riding, before they graduate in August.
BURNING MEDIC, owned and trained by Carl Anderson, ran on strongly a furlong out to win easily, enabling his 21-year-old rider, Orayne Sewell, to experience the thrill of victory.
The youngsters will undergo their final phase of the six-month course at the Caymanas Estates, with former champion jockey Emilio 'Bimbo' Rodriquez teaching them the rudiments of race riding. Rodriquez flew into the island from his base in Atlanta on Tuesday and wasted no time in meeting the apprentices.