Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The Fitzroy Glispie-trained FABULOUSCONNECTION is poised to win today's straight-five feature for the Grooms' Association Trophy (claiming $350,000-$300,000) ahead of SABINA at Caymanas Park.
Both horses have won multiple races over the straight, but FABULOUSCONNECTION has been the more consistent of the two and thus gets the vote.
The six-year-old gelding beat all barring EMERGENCE over 1100 metres when last raced on June 13 on a $350,000 tag. But prior to that on May 9, he won quite easily over the straight in a sub-minute time, ahead of LIVE WATER, who reopposes today.
Significantly, his last two wins have been recorded over the straight and back in February he failed by three-quarter length to stave off NOTUS over the course.
Set to carry only 52.0kg by virtue of apprentice Michael Grant's 3.0kg claiming allowance, FABULOUSCONNECTION has secured a favourable high-number draw as well and this should help his cause even further.
He has good speed, will be in the front ranks coming to the main track and although the Marlon Anderson-trained SABINA, along with CASHMERE GOLD (who has also won over the course in the past), could both prove dangerous in a race of this nature, especially SABINA, the choice has to be FABULOUSCONNECTION.
Elsewhere on the 11-race programme, consistent PALACE GOLD and the speedy seven-year-old gelding MR SKILL should have a battle royal for top honours when they meet in the third race over the straight for overnight allowance horses.
The two should carry the bulk of the betting in a seven-strong field, which also includes BLACKIE DAVIS and THE GUMMER, both winners of their last race.
Progressive American colt
Significantly, both MR SKILL and PALACE GOLD were beaten by the progressive American colt RICHIESHAPPYNOTION in separate races over the straight in recent weeks, the winner clocking the smart time of 58.0 in both.
Based on their performance in those races, it will be pretty close between the Lawrence Freemantle-trained MR SKILL with champion jockey Dick Cardenas and Howard Jaghai's PALACE GOLD, the mount of four-time champion Omar Walker. The fact that PALACE GOLD is stepping down from open allowance to overnight company tilts the balance in his favour.
Other firm fancies on the card are GHOST RAPPER to complete the hat-trick in the opening race over 1820 metres, GERSHWIN (working well) to score an overdue win in the second, ARGUMENT DONE, an unlucky loser last time out, to stave off the recent winner BRILLIANT LAD in the fifth, and DOUBLE BUTTON to go one better in the sixth.