Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Open allowance horses hold centre stage at Caymanas Park today with 11 down to contest the annual renewal of the L.C. McKenzie Memorial Cup over 1400 metres.
On the strength of his last performance, CLASSY PROSPECT, to be ridden by leading jockey Dane Nelson for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, is fancied to win, even in the face of stiff competition from a number of horses in a tough-looking field.
The five-year-old gelding by Saint Appeal out of Good Prospect is coming off a good run behind out-of-class COMMANDING CHIEF and RAISE A RUCKUS in the fast-run Owen Silvera Memorial Cup over 1600 metres on September 8.
Now sharper from this race, he is confidently expected to notch his second win from his last three starts.
CLASSY PROSPECT had previously won over this trip on August 18 in overnight allowance company, beating subsequent Jockey Club Stakes winner SIR SOUTH by 1 1/2 lengths in the good time of 1:25.3.
Although fancied to win from his favourable draw at post position nine, CLASSY PROSPECT will have lots of dangers.
They include topweight RAISE A RUCKUS, now 1.0kg worse off with him at the weights; REASONABLE PRESS, who won the Seek Exercise Book Trophy race six weeks ago; the lightly weighted American filly, NYABINGHI; SWEET TRAIL; and of course, the super fit SIR SOUTH from the Gordon Lewis stables.
There is also CLASSY PROSPECT's versatile stable-companion, JET SETTER, who will not only love the distance, but has worked well in preparation for the race.
Indeed, DaCosta holds a strong hand with both CLASSY PROSPECT and JET SETTER under former champion Shane Ellis, but CLASSY PROSPECT has better prospects insofar as winning is concerned.
The Patrick Chang-trained filly SWEET TRAIL looks tempting at the weights with only 51.0kg and champion jockey Dick Cardenas aboard. She is almost sure to set off in front, but CLASSY PROSPECT, who has good pace, won't be far behind, and I doubt she can escape him in the last furlong.
I am choosing CLASSY PROSPECT to win from RAISE A RUCKUS with 'Hall of Fame' jockey Winston Griffiths, SWEET TRAIL, and JET SETTER.
Other firm fancies on the programme are SKIPPING COOL in the second race at 1500 metres; OCHUN in the third over 1200 metres; recent winner CHECKITOUT to repeat in the fourth; PRINCIPE to hold SOCIAL BUTTERFLY at bay in the sixth; PREMIUM RETURNS in the eighth; and BURNING CLEARANCE to stave off old rival MERIT'S JET in the closing Track Price Plus Dig Out Handicap over 1100 metres.