Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
As the two-year-old campaign accelerates, six youngsters are down to contest the renewal of the Keeling Memorial Cup over 1100 metres at Caymanas Park today, the field including hat-trick seeker COUNTRY TRAIN.
Owned and trained by Harry Parsard, the dark bay filly by Image Maker out of Storm Within, has won her last two races in fine style, this from three starts.
Judging from the manner of her last victory in the round five Terremoto Trophy on August 29, when leading home old rival ALISON by five lengths under champion jockey Dick Cardenas, it should be more of the same.
COUNTRY TRAIN had previously won the Henry Jaghai, OD, Trophy over the round five course on August 4, powering home by 43/4 lengths with Cardenas aboard. Among her victims that day was the fleet-footed CC COLQUHOUN, who subsequently won over 1100 metres on August 11.
Having beaten both CC COLQUHOUN and ALISON in decisive fashion, it is unlikely either will be good enough to turn the tables on COUNTRY TRAIN, who reports very fit.
The Richard Azan-trained LEANNE and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta have shown definite ability and either could carry the fight, LEANNE having scored over 600 metres straight on her May 30 debut.
However, PERFECT NEIGH-BOUR (Leo Miller up), who went down fighting against CC COLQUHOUN on his August 11 debut over the distance, has looked mproved at exercise (working well) in preparation for this race and should ensure that COUNTRY TRAIN is extended in the six-strong field.
I am expecting COUNTRY TRAIN to race in close touch of the leaders before coming through a furlong out for the victory.
Elsewhere on the 10-race programme, UPPA TUNE, who has been burning up the track at exercise, should rebound with a win in the seventh race for three-year-olds and up over 1600 metres. The race has attracted 10 starters, and with most boasting good form, it should prove interesting. However, it will more than likely come down to the Ian Parsard-trained American 3-y-o colt, UPPA TUNE (Shane Ellis up), and the horse who beat him into second over 1820 metres on August 18, KAL KAL, from the stables of DaCosta.
Both have looked razor sharp, UPPA TUNE turning heads at exercise last Sunday morning when galloping 51/2 furlongs in a very fast 1:05.3, and KAL KAL breezing seven furlongs in 1:29.2 a day earlier. UPPA TUNE is given the edge.
I also like the DaCosta-trained IMPERIAL FORTUNE to catch ELOPING EMMA in the third race, STEP IT UP in the fourth, PRESCRIPTION (working well) to stave off SMOOTH E in the fifth, and AUSTIN LUKE over MR. BUTCHER in the Track Price Plus Dig Out Handicap.