Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Following a four-week break, mid-week racing resumes at Caymanas Park today with the Jockey Club Stakes over 1400 metres highlighting the eight-race programme. Post time is 1:45 p.m.
Offering at total purse of $715,000, the three-year-old and up overnight allowance feature has attracted seven starters, including topweight THE GUV, who steps down two classes to vie for this trophy.
He was a late scratch due to lameness for his intended race over 1200 metres on September 15, leaving the vastly improved pair of SWEET TRAIL and SIR SOUTH to fight it out in a driving finish.
SIR SOUTH returns pretty light under champion jockey Dick Cardenas and, along with THE GUV, should carry the bulk of the betting.
THE GUV, however, has done enough at exercise since to upstage the very fit SIR SOUTH from Gordon Lewis' stables.
Both are ideally suited to middle distances and it promises to be close, with the proven class of THE GUV expected to prevail in deep stretch.
Trained by Spencer Chung, THE GUV is winless in his only start this season, August 18, in grade-one company. Yet he was far from disgraced in finishing six lengths fourth to his illustrious stable companion, 'Horse of the Year' SAINT CECELIA, in the fast-run (1:04.3) She's On Wheels Trophy over 1100 metres for a good final time of 1:05.4.
Having won nine races from 31 starts and $6.1 million in stakes, the six-year-old grey horse, by Royal Minister out of Havasac, will not be easily denied with former champion Shane Ellis in the saddle.
MR. SKILL expected to shine
Elsewhere on the card, MR SKILL who has won 12 of his last 17 races under the care of trainer Lawrence Freemantle should, as usual, show rivals a clean pair of heels in the first race over the round five course for high claimers.
MR SKILL, with customary rider Ellis aboard, steps down from open allowance company after winning six of his nine races this season. With nothing capable of matching him for speed in the six-horse field, the fleet-footed seven-year-old gelding should not be beaten.
PRINCE OF ARABIA, based on his strong second to GUAN YU over 1400 metres on September 1, should win the fourth race over 1500 metres for $180,000 claimers, ahead of NO SMOKING with apprentice Ruja Lahoe in a field of 12. Leading jockey Dane Nelson has the ride.
Other firm fancies on the card are GWENNIETHEBUTCHER in the fifth; ANNTRACK over BWANA BROWN and MAYBE I SAY SO in the knotty-looking sixth race over 1500 metres and EASTWOOD (fitter now) to turn the tables on MILITARY MOVE in the closing Track Price Dig Out Handicap over a mile.