Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The three-day racing carnival leading up to the Jamaica 50 celebration kicks off at Caymanas Park today with an eight-race programme featuring the annual renewal of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission Trophy (open allowance) over 1100 metres.
Also on the holiday programme is the Emancipation Day Trophy (high claiming) over 1300 metres to be contested by seven starters, including top contenders ROLEX, THE GUARDIAN, JAYLEN and the front-running CLASSIC BEAU.
There will be racing at Caymanas Park today (August 1), Saturday, August 4, and Monday, August 6 (Independence Day). It is interesting to note that racing took place at Caymanas Park on the same three days 50 years ago.
Among the eight horses declared for the BG&LC Trophy is the progressive American three-year-old colt, RICHIESHAPPYNOTION, who bids for the hat-trick following impressive fast-time wins over the straight on June 30 and July 7.
Trained by Lorne Kirlew for Jigzy Blade, the same connections of the brilliant American colt MISMYRTLEBOYRICHIE, RICHIESHAPPYNOTION has been allotted topweight of 57.0kg, but this will not deter him.
Indications are that the son of Great Notion-Happy Sylvia is heading for the top and, given his superior speed, should chalk up his sixth win from 10 career starts.
RICHIESHAPPYNOTION romped the G.A. 'Sarge' Bucknor Memorial Cup over the straight for overnight allowance horses a month ago, beating subsequent winner MR. SKILL by three lengths in the smart time
Among his victims were the Wayne DaCosta-trained RIO COBRE, who finished 5 1/2 lengths third, but enjoys a 1.5kg swing today, and SIR D, who was beaten into fourth place in the 'Sarge' Bucknor Memorial, but has subsequently won.
Other fit horses present include JET SETTER, who chased home out-of-class RED FLAG over 1200 metres a week ago, the third horse, LADY MACBETH, and RIGHT MARKER, who finished sixth.
All should provide worthwhile opposition but, as far as winning is concerned, RICHIESHAPPYNOTION ought to be followed with four-time champion Omar Walker again in the saddle.
I am expecting him to circle the field from the outside post position and make it a post-to-post affair.
The Emancipation Day Trophy should provide keen competition among the top contenders, with CLASSIC BEAU expected to carry the field to the last furlong and could well give trainer Kirlew a double on the card.
The trio of JAYLEN, ROLEX and THE GUARDIAN will be coming on strongly in the straight. I am expecting ROLEX, under champion jockey Dick Cardenas, to prove strongest of all in the closing stages.
I also like SPECIAL REPORT to catch PERSIAN GOLD in the opening race over 1400 metres, MAYBE I SAY SO in the Albert Rose Memorial Trophy and SUNSHINE BOY in the nightpan.
Post time is 1:15 p.m.