Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
EL PODEROSO, who has won his last four races, faces the biggest test of his career today at Caymanas Park against five tough opponents in the 3-y-o and up open allowance feature over 1500 metres.
Trained by 14-time champion Philip Feanny, the American 4-y-o colt, to be ridden by leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths, has worked well in his preparation, and having looked the part by winning his previous races in fast times, will not go down easily.
EL PODEROSO won over 1200 metres when last raced on December 5, holding on well by a length from the consistent PALACE GOLD, in the good time of 1:12.2 in open allowance company.
Prior to that, the son of Even The Score powered home by five lengths from POTCHEEN over 1300 metres, covering the distance in a pretty fast 1:17.2.
Although facing horses the calibre of SWEET TRAIL, a native-bred 5-y-o mare who won easily over a mile in a good time on last, as well as Superstakes runner-up GOOD PROSPECT and American-bred GO GO YVONNE, EL PODEROSO is going places and ought to be followed.
The trio of SWEET TRAIL, GOOD PROSPECT, and GO GO YVONNE are coming off easy wins last time out and should ensure a truly run race.
The Patrick Chang-trained SWEET TRAIL has been a revelation since the second half of last year, passing the post in front four times (disqualified once) over varied distances.
Working well and ideally suited to the distance, SWEET TRAIL, under former champion Dick Cardenas, looks the principal danger to EL PODEROSO, from whom she receives 2.0kg.
Elsewhere on the nine-race programe, RAGING PROSPECT, who finished a close fourth to the disqualified AVENTURA in the Governor's Cup (Lotto Classic) in May of last year, looks a cinch with only 51.0kg in the fifth race over 1820 metres (non winners of three) for four-year-olds and up.
Although running below par (sixth) behind AVENTURA over 1600 metres last time out, RAGING PROSPECT has worked well in preparation for this and with less to do in present company, should prove too strong for the bold front runner TIGRENIAN in a field of 12.
The four-year-old colt from the stables of Fitzroy Glispie has shown a particular liking for two-turn races, and having won by a wide margin over 2000 metres on November 28, should give champion apprentice Shamaree Muir yet another winner.
Other firm fancies on the card are RUM PUNCH - now administered Lasix - to upstage AGAKHAN in the second race for maiden three-year-olds; the lightly-raced MAHIBA to complete the hat-trick in the fifth; down-in-class PRINCE OF ARABIA in the sixth; and HOGANS HERO (Muir up) in the seventh confined to apprentice riders.