Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Two trophies are at stake on today's Trainers' Association Day 11-race programme at Caymanas Park, including the annual renewal of the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Association (JRTA) Trophy event over 1200 metres (non-winners of two) for native bred three-year-olds.
Twelve starters have been declared, among them top contenders AWESOME CODE and MAMA BLOSSOM, to be ridden by title-chasing Dane Nelson and Omar Walker, respectively.
Both ran well in their last races, the Carl Anderson-trained AWESOME CODE finishing a strong second to ASIA'S DREAM over 1400 metres on November 9 and MAMA BLOSSOM from the Gary Subratie stable finishing second to BELIEVE over 1300 metres on November 17.
When both last met in the race won by ASIA'S DREAM, AWESOME CODE finished 11/2 lengths ahead of the then favourite MAMA BLOSSOM in third. At the revised weights, it should be pretty close between them today.
MAMA BLOSSOM is 2.5kg better off at the weights and having secured a perfect draw on the outside, the consistent filly is sure to fight out the finish.
Preference, however, is for AWESOME CODE, who looked sharp at exercise on Sunday morning, galloping three furlongs in 36.0.
The dark bay gelding by Coded Warning out of the 2001 Guineas, Oaks and Derby winner, Awesome Power, notched his last win over 1400 metres back in May, holding on well from PRINCESS SHANEIL, who has since gone on to much, better things. On pedigree, he should be the better animal and as such, gets the vote.
Twelve will also contest the Richard Ashenheim Memorial Cup over 1500 metres and all eyes will be focused on the lightly raced but well-thought-of ROCKETMAN, to be ridden by Nelson for 14-time champion trainer Philip Feanny.
The bay colt by Shuffling Madness out of Shawnee Sunrise was installed a howling 2-5 favourite on his November 27 debut over the round five course, but found himself outpaced into the straight. However, he finished very fast for second, beaten 11/2 lengths by DAGGA DAGGA LINKS.
Now better for the experience, ROCKETMAN (working well) looks hard to oppose given the longer distance.
Other firm fancies on the card are BUBBLING ANGELINE in the second race for two-year-olds, down in class TANTALOO in the fifth, HOLOGRAM SHADOW to repeat in the eighth, this year's 2000 Guineas winner WILLIE GOLDSMITH to catch TRADITIONAL PRINCE in the ninth, and ROYAL VIBES over DOC HOLIDAY in the closing race over a mile.