Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
NUH VEX, running as the 7-2 second favourite with former champion Dick Cardenas aboard, held on grimly by a neck to win the inaugural running of the Seymour 'Foggy' Mullings Memorial Trophy overnight allowance feature over 1500 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday.
Sponsored by Woody's, the race was run to perpetuate the memory of the late deputy prime minister, Seymour Mullings, who, during his tenure as minister of finance from 1989 to the mid '90s, had portfolio responsibility for the racing industry.
Thanks to his stewardship, the industry enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth in the '90s with Danny Melville appointed CTL's chairman and Chris Armond as his director of racing and promotions.
A message was read on behalf of Melville, hailing the contribution of 'Foggy' Mullings, whom he described as "a friend of racing".
Mullings' widow, Lilieth Mullings, his daughter Rosie Mullings-Hemans and granddaughter Rhianna Hemans were special guests of the promoters in the directors' room.
NUH VEX made most in a field of eight to give his owner Winston Gayle a first lien on the trophy.
The four-year-old gelding led narrowly from the 4-5 favourite RED FLAG under title-chasing jockey Omar Walker passing the half mile, disposed of his challenge (inside) leaving the furlong pole, then survived a late run from SHEZA BOSSLADY (22-1) with five-time champion Trevor Simpson aboard.
By War Marshall out of Princess Chioneso, NUH VEX, who earlier this season was trained by the late Leroy Biggs, chalked up his fourth win from 13 starts this season and his first in overnight company. He now takes orders from trainer Anthony Smith.
Champion jockey Dane Nelson rode two winners on the card to extend his lead to five over arch-rival Omar Walker in the championship race with only two racedays remaining in 2013.
Nelson won the second race (claiming $250,000-$210,000) aboard 1-2 favourite JOVOUN THE MASTER for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta and champion owner contender Carlton Watson and followed up with 3-5 favourite BORDER LINE for trainer Richard Azan in the third, to move to 110 wins this season.
Nelson, however, was unable to ride after the seventh race, having suffered grave interference in the early stages and fell from his mount, CARPE DIEM. Although badly shaken up, Nelson escaped injury and according to his agent, Lerone 'Bredda' Lee, will ride on the big Boxing Day programme.
Walker, meanwhile, had one winner in 2-5 favourite MERU for trainer Norman Palmer in the fifth race over a mile for the Paul Newman Memorial Trophy.