Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
GREEN BERET, having won convincingly on January 30, is tipped to resume winning ways when he takes on eight opponents in today's fifth race for the Roderick 'Pilot' Francis Memorial Trophy (claiming $180,000) over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park.
The five-year-old horse from the stables of Gresford Smith cruised home by four lengths from GALACTUS and SPLITTING IMAGE over 1100 metres for trainer Anthony 'Baba' Nunes in that January 30 race, but could only manage ninth place to GHOST RAPPER at 1300 metres on a $450,000 tag 10 days later.
He came down to $180,000 claiming a week later as the even-money favourite and finished six lengths fourth to KING SOLOMON under topweight of 57.0kg going 1300 metres.
GREEN BERET actually turned for home on the lead that day, and after giving way to KING SOLOMON, was still lying second a furlong out. All in all that was not a bad effort, seeing that KING SOLOMON won by five lengths.
Claimed by 'Greasy' Smith out of that race, GREEN BERET has been nicely refreshened to vie for this trophy, and with champion jockey Dane Nelson offered the ride, will not go down easily with the distance just perfect.
Still, GREEN BERET can expect stiff opposition from the speedy quartet of REDS THOMAS, APARAJITA, MR. BUTCHER and recent winner FRIENDS FOR LIFE.
With lots of speed present, they should play into the hands of GREEN BERET, who has most to fear from the lightly weighted RUN CHARM RUN.
Elsewhere on the programme, a most interesting race is the 3-y-o and up open allowance over 1200 metres which brings together the American-bred horses BLAST THEM AWAY, stable companion RIO COBRE and NOON IT IS in a field of seven.
All three should ensure a truly run race and with the consistent TRADITIONAL PRINCE by no means out of it with only 47.0kg, it should go down to the wire.
The Wayne DaCosta-trained RIO COBRE and TRADITIONAL PRINCE should carry them for a long way, but in the end I am expecting the DaCosta-trained BLAST THEM AWAY and Gary Subratie's talented filly NOON IT IS to have the finish to themselves.
Although BLAST THEM AWAY came from a lengthy absence to win the recent Ash Wednesday Trophy, preference is for NOON IT IS, who was a fast-finishing second to SAINT CECELIA in the Gold Cup when last raced on December 8.
I also like LITTLE MAMA MIA in the 1st race, GHOST RAPPER in the 3rd, I'M A BELIEVER in the 6th and the GUARDIAN in the 7th.