Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The year's first midweek meet is on at Caymanas Park today, the 10-race programme featuring the ninth running of the 4-y-o and up restricted allowance race over 1100 metres for the Howard Phillipps Memorial Trophy.
The race is run annually to perpetuate the memory of the late trainer, who died tragically (shot dead) at Caymanas Park on Saturday, February 7, 2004.
Standing out in the 12-strong field is the fleet-footed RUNJOHNNY RUN from the stables of 14-time champion trainer Philip Feanny.
The 4-y-o colt by Traditional out of Rum Ridge looks the fastest in the line-up, and with Feanny running him without the blinkers for this race, he will prove difficult to catch.
RUNJOHNNY RUN showed good speed as usual on January 12 over the straight, a race in which he led to the last furlong before he was relegated to fourth by fast-time winner PRESCRIPTION.
He faded in the closing stages to finish 23/4 lengths fourth, abreast of the runner-up SAFE PASSAGE and the third horse SHE'S SO SPECIAL, who chased him relentlessly.
RUNJOHNNY RUN has looked fluent at exercise in preparation for this trophy and although SHE'S SO SPECIAL should keep him honest in this rematch, along with RAJA HINDUSTANI, MOM'S SECRET and JARREAU, he is tipped to go all the way.
Competent jockey Richard Mairs will ride RUNJOHNNY RUN from the convenient mark of 53.0kg.
Elsewhere on the programme which commences at 12:30 p.m., the unbeaten American filly CITY FLIGHT makes her seasonal debut and should take up where she left off last season, in a field of nine.
Voted the champion two-year-old of last season, the Gary Subratie CITY FLIGHT - with 53.0kg and Omar Walker aboard - duly made it three in a row on December 29 with another fast-time victory in the Sweet Ruckus Trophy over 1400 metres.
The very speedy MR. SKILL with customary rider Shane Ellis aboard, along with SIR VON with champion jockey Dane Nelson and her own stable-companion AWESOME CAMILLE with former champion Dick Cardenas aboard, should ensure that my selection CITY FLIGHT receives an acid test. But I expect her to pass it with flying colours as she could be something special.
Other firm fancies on the card are J.J. EXPRESS in the first race for maidens, FEELINGINTHESLIPS in the fourth, LADY FOREMAN in the fifth, ETHOS to go one better in the seventh and RHEA'S A SUPERSTAR to do likewise in the closing Track Price Plus Dig-Out Handicap.