Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Four-time champion jockey Omar Walker highlighted yesterday's 10-race programme at Caymanas Park with three winners, including the classy American filly NOON IT IS for trainer Gary Subratie in the open allowance sprint.
His other winners were the Subratie-trained LITTLE MAMA MIA, a 1-4 favourite in the opening race over the straight, and GOOD OVER EVIL at 2-1 for trainer Steven Todd in the fourth race for maidens over 1600 metres.
Walker topped champion jockey Dane Nelson and 2011 champion Dick Cardenas who rode two winners each.
Nelson, whose appeal against a 10-day suspension and $10,000 fine by the stewards will be heard by the full commission today, easily won the day's feature for the Roderick 'Pilot' Francis Memorial Trophy over 1200 metres aboard evens favourite GREEN BERET for trainer Gresford Smith and owner Robert Byers, as well as the lightly raced LADY TEREEKA at 4-1 for trainer Richard Azan in the sixth race for maiden three-year-olds.
Cardenas, meanwhile, won aboard the stable companions DEO VOLENTE and POWER BY LIGHT (both 2-1 shots) for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta.
Tally rises to 23
With yesterday's three-timer, Walker pushed his season's tally to 23 - three clear of closest rival Nelson and the apprentice Prince 'Daggerman' Holder in third with 13 winners. Cardenas occupies sixth spot with eight wins so far this season.
Out for the first time this season following her fast-finishing second to 'Horse of the Year' SAINT CECELIA in last December's Gold Cup, NOON IT IS was installed a marginal 1-1 favourite over BLAST THEM AWAY (also at 1-1) and duly obliged by 33/4 lengths from BLAST THEM away in a field of seven.
Not the best away, NOON IT IS recovered quickly to be fourth passing the half mile as RIO COBRE (9-2) led from the rank outsider MAKIN BOP (99-1) and BLAST THEM AWAY with Nelson up.
NOON IT IS soon got into top gear. Bustled up by Walker, she circled RIO COBRE on entering the straight. And when the ever-present BLAST THEM AWAY loomed for a challenge approaching the distance, she lengthened her strides leaving the furlong pole to win in the fairly good time of 1:12.3.
Both Subratie and owner Michros were happy with the win, if only for the fact that Subratie had to work hard to present NOON IT IS in top shape.
"We decided to rest her after the Gold Cup but when I started to prepare her again early in the year, she had a few problems and had to be reprogrammed," said Subratie.
"She had to be taken to task in preparation for this race and happily passed with flying colours," added the second-generation trainer.