Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Former champion jockey Shane Ellis highlighted yesterday's 12-race programme at Caymanas Park with three winners, including ROCK 'A' WAY at 5-2 in the sixth running of the Donald Tankoy Memorial Cup for maiden three-year-olds over 1300 metres.
The second generation jockey, son of 19'60s champion Winston Ellis, also won the opening two-year-old race aboard 2-5 favourite FORCE DE JOUR (made all) for trainer Anthony Nunes and 6-5 favourite MADAM RODHAM for Lawrence Freemantle in the 10th race over 1200 metres for $180,000 claimers.
All three won convincingly, the Nunes trained ROCK 'A' WAY coming from mid-pack in a 15-strong field to sweep past the leader GREATER GLORY (6-1) midway through the last furlong to beat her by 1 3/4 lengths.
The 6-5 favourite SPICE under in-form jockey Dick Cardenas could only manage fourth after failing to go the early pace.
With a little luck, Ellis could well have ridden five winners. However, he was denied by Cardenas in the eighth and ninth races respectively.
In the eighth race over 1500 metres, Ellis' mount PRINCESS SHANEIL (6-1) was caught and beaten a short head on the wire by 8-5 favourite RUM PUNCH. And in the ninth race over 1400 metres for overnight allowance horses, Ellis aboard the the even-money favourite ARGUMENT DONE was caught on the line by Cardenas aboard the 13-1 outsider DEO VOLENTE on the inside.
Both RUM PUNCH and DEO VOLENTE are trained by Wayne DaCosta, who is well on course to win his 13th title and his ninth in a row.
Meanwhile, champion jockey Dane Nelson continues to chip away at Omar Walker's lead in the jockeys' championship with just under three months remaining.
Walker failed to ride a winner for the second consecutive raceday, while Nelson rode two winners in 2-1 favourite GO TO HELL, who made all in the third race, and evens favourite NOOKLIN BRIDGE, who got up in the nick of time to beat Cardenas aboard GOLD TOP (8-1) by a short head over 1100 metres for her third consecutive win.
As a result, Nelson (75 wins) has cut Walker's lead to single digit - nine.