Orville Clarke, Gleaner Racing Writer
The open allowance sprint takes the spotlight at Caymanas Park today as the most valuable race on the card.
It has attracted seven starters, including likely favourite NOON IT IS, MR SKILL and SMOKIN MAN, all winners last time out. This trio should figure prominently in the outcome along with REASONABLE PRESS and the consistent PALACE GOLD, making it quite an interesting race.
Speed is strongly represented by MR SKILL, who has won seven of his 10 races this season, including the most recent over the round-five course in the smart time of 59.3.
The fleet-footed seven-year-old gelding from the stables of Lawrence Freemantle steps up to open allowance company with 55.0kg, and although meeting horses of the calibre of NOON IT IS, PALACE GOLD and Seek Back-to-School Trophy winner REASONABLE PRESS, will have to be caught over this his pet trip.
MR SKILL EXPECTED TO SLOW down
MR SKILL, under champion jockey Dick Cardenas, will be chased by the lightly weighted SMOKIN MAN and REASONABLE PRESS, who carries joint topweight of 57.0kg with NOON IT IS.
I am expecting MR. SKILL to be slowing down leaving the furlong pole and play into the hands of the Gary Subratie-trained American 3-y-o filly NOON IT IS, who won't be far off with five-time champion Omar Walker again in the saddle.
NOON IT IS is coming off a fighting win over the straight on September 22 when she had to be bustled up in the closing stages to beat PALACE GOLD and AWESOME CAMILLE by half a length in the smart time of 58.2 with topweight of 57.0kg. And prior to that she chased home none other than 'Horse of the Year' and Champion Sprinter SAINT CECELIA in the fast-run (1:04.3) grade one race for the She's On Wheels Trophy on August 18, her personal time 1:05.1.
THE OBVIOUS CHOICE
On the strength of her She's On Wheels' performance, NOON IT IS represents the class horse of the field, and although PALACE GOLD could again run him close on 3.0kg better terms, and MR. SKILL will only go down with guns blazing, the choice has to be the Yankee Gentleman-Noonan filly, who reports in good nick.
Also on the card is the annual renewal of the Flossie McNeil Memorial Cup over 1200 metres for three-year-olds and up (fillies and mares) to be contested by 14 starters.
The race will more than likely resolve itself into a three-cornered tussle among ROCKETEER, MAKIN BOP and MEROVINGIAN QUEEN with champion jockey Dick Cardenas aboard. However, with trainer Anthony Nunes calling up the promising 4.0kg claiming apprentice Renardo McNaughton to ride ROCKETEER, the 3-y-o filly by Traditional out of Kaycee, having worked very well, looks the one to beat.
I also like BWANA BROWN to win the third race, LASHING FORCE in the fifth, CONFLICTOFINTEREST in the sixth and SARAGOSSA in the seventh.