Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Today's Jockeys' Guild raceday at Caymanas Park will be highlighted by the restricted allowance race over 1600 metres for three-year-olds, featuring an interesting clash between two leading classic aspirants, BIGMAN IN TOWN and RUM PUNCH.
Both missed the $1.3 million Prince Consort Stakes over 1400 metres last Saturday, which was won in impressive fashion by the favourite, WILLIE GOLDSMITH.
They will instead be using this race as their final prep for the April 6 2000 Guineas over 1600 metres. The Patrick Chang-trained WILLIE GOLDSMITH has thrown down the gauntlet for the upcoming Guineas, and it will be left to be seen whether the unbeaten BIG MAN IN TOWN or RUM PUNCH can emerge as serious opponents for him.
Of the seven horses declared to run today, the Gary Subratie-trained BIGMAN IN TOWN (Omar Walker up) and Wayne DaCosta's RUM PUNCH (Dick Cardenas) are the standouts in the field, and it will come down to these two.
While RUM PUNCH was beaten into second place by the highly thought of American colt ADMIRAL SNOW over the distance when having his fourth outing on February 27, BIGMAN IN TOWN impressed on his debut, January 5 debut over 1200 metres.
Subratie explained that the plan was to run BIGMAN in the Prince Consort Stakes, but the one-time record-priced yearling ($3.4 million) by Cowtown Cat - My Morning Prayer was forced to bypass the race, having run up a temperature.
"He had to be taken out of training for a number of days and although he recovered prior to the Prince Consort, was short of a work or two and a decision was taken to wait and run him in this race instead," explained the second-generation trainer.
Subratie added that all was right with BIGMAN IN TOWN coming into this race, and the trainer is pretty confident that he will remain unbeaten going into the Guineas.
While having every respect for RUM PUNCH (working very well), who was a 13-length winner from AGAKHAN over this trip on January 26, the fact that he is set to give BIGMAN IN TOWN 2.0kg, tilts the balance in the latter's favour.
I also like the lightly weighted MEROVINGIAN QUEEN to lead home DONATA in the closing Jockeys' Guild of Jamaica Trophy race; ADMIRAL SNOW to repeat in the first; PRINCE ANDREW in the third, FIRE LIGHT in the fourth; and PRINCE KAYTON in the Al Gopie Memorial Cup over the straight for maiden three-year-olds.