Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The 2010 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner MARK MY WORD made a triumphant return to Caymanas Park following a seven-month absence yesterday, to score a fighting victory over last year's St Leger winner COMMANDING CHIEF in the grade- one Governor General's Stakes over 2000 metres.
Ridden by the inexperienced 4.0kg claiming apprentice Jemar Jackson, who only rode his first winner on Saturday, MARK MY WORD, the 4-5 second favourite in a field of six, won by a neck from 3-5 marginal favourite COMMANDING CHIEF under champion jockey Dick Cardenas, with the winner's lesser fancied stable-companion ERASMO (14-1) staying on strongly to finish another length away third.
Both MARK MY WORD and ERASMO are trained by Richard Azan for champion owners, the Elite Bloodstock Limited.
COMMANDING CHIEF, running with only 51.0kg, tried to make all and in the end, went down fighting. MARK BY WORD mounted his challenge leaving the half mile and although pointing on the outside entering the straight, had to fight tooth and nail under a good ride from the apprentice to hold the renewed challenge of COMMANDING CHIEF by a neck.
Bred by HAM Stables Limited, MARK MY WORD was posting his third consecutive win and his 14th from 22 starts lifetime with record stakes of $20.8 million.
Looking for third win
Owner Randy McLean of Elite Bloodstock was elated with the victory and is now looking forward to a third consecutive Superstakes win on November 10.
"We insisted that the apprentice be given the ride as we wanted him to run as light as possible with 53.0kg", said McLean. "Mark My Word ran a good time (2.06.0) and given this prep, will be razor sharp for the Superstakes," he added.
On a day when trainers Wayne DaCosta and Gary Griffiths (including the 99-1 outsider AZARIO) posted two winners, the DaCosta-trained 2-y-o debutant ROYAL VIBES (2-1) made most impressively to win the $1.1 million Hi-Pro Stables Choice Feeds Trophy over 1300 metres in the smart time of 1:19.0.
The bay colt by Royal Minister out of November Lace is co-owned by Elizabeth DaCosta and Carlton 'Real Vibes' Watson, who had a second winner on the card in the DaCosta-trained VIBES MASTER.