Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Overnight allowance horses hold centre stage at Caymanas Park today with nine declared for the annual renewal of the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Association Trophy over 2000 metres.
Among the starters is likely favourite MIKENIFICENT, who will be better for last Saturday's pipe-opener behind TRADITIONAL PRINCE over 1200 metres. With the trip now ideal, the American 4-y-o colt looks the one to beat.
Trained by Oneil Markland for owner Michael Howard, MIKENIFICENT has been sparingly raced this season, but on his best form should have the beating of this level, having notched his last win exactly a year ago in open allowance company over 1600 metres.
Since then, MIKENIFICENT has only raced three times and has been soundly beaten in all three races.Last Saturday, he stepped down in class to overnight company and running for the first time in over six months, finished 10 lengths eighth to TRADITIONAL PRINCE over a distance well short of his best.
Despite the lengthy absence, MIKENIFICENT reported well trained for that race and, if anything, will have benefited from the run.
The son of Indy King-Pearlwood won easily over the distance in September of last year when landing the Kenneth Mattis OD Trophy and will not go down easily with champion jockey-designate Dane Nelson replacing the apprentice Renardo McNaughton.
Although fancied to win, MIKENIFICENT can expect good competition from the recent winner THERE GOES JUSTIN under hot apprentice Shamaree Muir, two-turn specialist VONALMIGHTY with four-time champion jockey Omar Walker, and LADY MACBETH with outgoing champion Dick Cardenas aboard.
Both THERE GOES JUSTIN and VONALMIGHTY will be coming to test MIKENIFICENT to the hilt, especially the bold front-runner THERE GOES JUSTIN, an American 4-y-o colt who made all for an upset win over 1820 metres on November 17 in the United Racehorse Trainers' Association Trophy.
With 3.0kg claiming apprentice Muir again in the saddle, THERE GOES JUSTIN will have to be caught. But MIKENIFICENT should have his measure in the drive for home.
Elsewhere on the card, the trio of AGAKHAN, FRANKENSTORM and FLAGRANS should have an interesting battle for top honours in the Andrew H.B. Aguilar Memorial Cup maiden special secondary feature for native-bred two-year-olds.
The race has attracted 11 juveniles but for me, victory should go to the Richard Azan-trained AGAKHAN with Nelson aboard. True, the son of Greatness showed little behind stable-companion DOC HOLIDAY on his recent debut in the Abbie Grannum Memorial Cup over 1400 metres, but has looked more focused in his preparation and, with Lasix administered for the first time, is preferred to FRANKENSTORM, who showed promise on his recent debut behind EL NUMERO UNO.
I also like MISS MAY (1st race), SMOOTH E (3rd), GENERAL C (4th), GO MY ROBIN (6th) and SOCIAL BUTTERFLY (10th).