Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The new apprentice riders revelled in the mud at Caymanas Park yesterday, winning six of the 10 scheduled races.
Both Renardo McNaughton and Orlando Foster helped themselves to the first double of their short careers, Foster scoring a shock win aboard the 99-1 outsider WHISTLING JET for topline trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes in the fourth race over 1,100 metres for maiden three-year-olds.
Foster came back to win the closing Track Price Dig Out Handicap ($180,000 claiming) aboard 7-1 shot MR BUTCHER, the consistent eight-year-old horse coming through in the last furlong to beat long-time leader STRAIGHT A'S in decisive fashion.
McNaughton, the most successful of the 19 apprentices who started riding on September 8 after graduating from the Jockeys' School, won aboard 7-1 chance EMERGENCE for trainer Tyrone Prince in the opening race over 1,200 metres for $450,000-$400,000 claimers. He then followed up in the third race aboard 6-5 favourite IMPERIAL FORTUNE for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta to push his tally to five wins so far. Ruja Lahoe, who had previously ridden three winners, won the second race aboard 19-1 outsider NATURALFANTASY for trainer Alden Francis, while Kuri Powell, the first apprentice from the batch to ride a winner (Yes We Will) on September 8, added a second aboard the front-running LADY APPEAL (6-1) for trainer Lawrence Freemantle in the apprentice race.
In all, the apprentices have ridden 16 winners after five race days, a promising start by any standard.
Meanwhile, the Philip Feanny-trained ALISON (4-1) turned the tables on recent conqueror and 2-5 favourite COUNTRY TRAIN in the Keeling Memorial Cup 2-y-o feature over 1,100 metres, the Traditional - Deja Vu offspring winning by six lengths from 5-2 chance PERFECT NEIGHBOUR.
Relishing every inch of the sloppy conditions, ALISON, with Aaron Chatrie riding for the X Factor, disputed the lead with C C COLQUHOUN (5-1) from soon after the start and disposed of her on entering the straight for a facile win, her second from three starts.
COUNTRY TRAIN, bidding for a hat-trick of wins under champion jockey Dick Cardenas, raced prominently in third passing the half-mile, but lost her action after coming wide into the straight to finish 10 lengths fourth.