Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
A new season of racing commenced with 'Fan Appreciation Day' at Caymanas Park yesterday when the promoters, Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), said thank you to the fans for their support during the past year.
The day's principal feature, the CTL Fan Appreciation Day Trophy over 2200 metres for overnight allowance horses, provided a post-to-post victory for the 4-5 favourite CLASSY PROSPECT with 4.0kg claiming apprentice Orlando Foster riding for newly-crowned, 12-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta.
The six-year-old gelding, who was second to MARK MY WORD in the recent CTL Superstakes, was chased relentlessly by the 23-1 outsider ASHES TO ASHES and had to be driven out from below the distance to thwart a strong challenge from him in the six-horse field, eventually winning by 2 1/2 lengths.
A six-year-old bay gelding by Saint Appeal out of the 1999 Derby and Oaks winner Good Prospect, CLASSY PROSPECT is co-owned and bred by Francis Barnett, Edison Chai and Louie Lyn. This was his ninth win from 29 starts lifetime, with total stakes of $8.5 million.
Later in the afternoon, CLASSIC PRINCESS, running at odds of 7-2 with Aaron Chatrie aboard, produced a terrific last-furlong run to catch and beat 6-5 favourite, the DaCosta-trained CANTARE, by half-a-length in the New Year's Day Trophy supporting feature over 1300 metres.
The winner, a four-year-old filly by Western Classic out of Liz N Maggie, is owned by Arthur Foreman and trained by Gary Subratie.
The respective sections of the valuable McKay Security Limited Trophy race over 1820 metres for $180,000 claimers, went to 2-1 favourite NO SMOKING, who completed a hat-trick of wins; and the consistent FUNNY SIDE at 7-2.
The Tensang Chung-trained NO SMOKING made all under 4.0kg claiming apprentice Prince Holder. FUNNY SIDE, ridden by champion apprentice Shamaree Muir for owner/trainer Andrew McDonald, came through approaching the final bend to win in a driving finish from NATURALFANTASY (7-2) and evens favourite GO MY ROBIN. Both sections were contested by 12 starters.
The stewards of the meeting struck on this the opening day of the season, disqualifying first past the post SIR VON (5-1) for causing interference to long-time leader AWESOME CAMILLE midway the last furlong; and awarded the race to 2-1 chance PALACE GOLD with Paul Francis up.
The DaCosta-trained SIR VON was disqualified and placed fourth, depriving apprentice Holanda Butler of his first career win.