Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Nine local and imported three-year-olds are down to contest the annual renewal of the Royal Dad Trophy over 1820 metres at Caymanas Park today, among them the consistent filly CLASSIC PRINCESS, who is fancied to win.
Offering a total purse of $715,000, the 3-y-o restricted allowance race is run in honour of the outstanding thoroughbred ROYAL DAD, who had the distinction of being the first Triple Crown winner at Caymanas Park in 1981, and was voted 'Horse of the Year' as well.
ROYAL DAD, who was trained by many-time champion Kenneth Mattis, also broke the record for most consecutive wins (nine straight) in 1981. He went on to win 11 consecutive races, a record which was broken 15 years later by the 1996 Triple Crown winner WAR ZONE.
ROYAL DAD collapsed and died on the track after winning the mile and quarter Governor General's Stakes on October 16, 1982. He has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in Jamaica.
CLASSIC PRINCESS will more than likely start favourite on the basis of her recent form and win ahead of fellow three-year-olds SIRMANDI and TIMEFORARMS. She has finished close up in second in her last three races, the most recent on October 13 when failing by a head to catch the front-running American colt UPPA TUNE in a fast-run 1500-metre race (1:31.3).
Two weeks prior to that, she was beaten a length by another imported horse, KAL KAL, over a mile - a race in which she had both SIRMANDI and TIMEFORARMS behind in third and fifth places, respectively. She also beat TIMEFORARMS into fifth place in the race won by UPPA TUNE and also the filly PHILISTIA, who was sixth in the same race.
Although it could be said that both SIRMANDI and TIMEFORARMS will be more dangerous going two turns, CLASSIC PRINCESS has held her form so well that she will not go down with only 51.0kg and champion jockey Dick Cardenas aboard.
I take her to win from SIRMANDI, who finished a fair fifth to top-distance horse MARK MY WORD in the recent Governor General's Stakes over 2000 metres, TIMEFORARMS and EL PATRON. That's the superfecta.
Other firm fancies on the programme are GHOST RAPPER to resume winnings ways at the expense of old rival AWESOME MARQUE in the first race; recent winner GWENNIETHEBUTCHER to repeat in the second, where consistent BURNING CLEARANCE looks her principal danger; as well as newcomer DEVIL'S CHILD in the Lester Sunders Memorial Trophy two-year-old race over 1400 metres; POTCHEEN in the fifth; and THE PRIMEMERLINIAN in the seventh.