Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
The curtain comes down on the $10.8 million Supreme Ventures 2-Y-O Series at Caymanas Park today, with the 102nd running of the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over 1600 metres, highlighting the 12-race holiday programme.
This race, which offers a total purse of $4.25 million, sets the stage for the brilliant, unbeaten PRINCESS POPSTAR to become the first two-year-old to win all three races in the series, having won the $2.95 million Cash Pot 'Only One For Me' Trophy over 1200 metres on October 10 as well as the $3.6 million Pick3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1400 metres on November 30, both in record times.
Since the series was inaugurated in 2005, no two-year-old has been good enough to win all three races and claim the million-dollar bonus being offered by Supreme Ventures Limited for achieving the feat.
However, PRINCESS POPSTAR from the stables of 14-time champion trainer Philip Feanny, has excited racing fans to such an extent in her three races to date that it will take an act of God to deny her today.
Bred by HAM Stables Limited, the bay filly by Adore The Gold out of the champion broodmare Docs' Paladin has won her three races by a combined margin of 39 lengths.
She made a smashing debut over the round five course with former champion Percy Williams in the saddle on September 11, going wire to wire to win by the resounding margin of 19 lengths in the smart time of 59.1.
She followed up with runaway wins in the Cash Pot 'Only One For Me Trophy and the Pick3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1400 metres, equalling the stake's record time of 1:25.1 with leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths riding her for the first time.
With the opposition basically the same, save for the Feanny-trained ROCKETMAN, this race should merely facilitate the crowning of PRINCESS POPSTAR. She continues to look the part at exercise and should cap the season as the horse to have made the biggest impact in 2013.
Unfortunately, she won't be able to claim the $1 million bonus, as she was not purchased in last year's TOBA yearling sale at Caymanas Park.
The Wayne DaCosta-trained INSANE BOLT, second to 'Popstar' on the two occasions they have met, and the Feanny-trained ROCKETMAN should fight it out for second in the 10-strong field.
Also on the Boxing Day programme, is the annual renewal of the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup (grade one) over 2400 metres with a purse of $1.25 million.
This race looks made to order for the recent Catherine's Peak Gold Cup winner COMMANDING CHIEF, despite having to carry topweight of 57.0kg in a field of seven.
The five-year-old gelding from the stables of Everal Francis followed up his strong third-place finish to TYPEWRITER in the November 9 Talawah Superstakes over 2000 metres with a facile win in the Gold Cup a month later. He's clearly on top of his game and, back in action against six inferior opponents, he should lead home the recent winner SWEET TRAIL.
Paul 'Country' Francis again has the ride aboard the 2011 St. Leger winner.
I also like EMERGENCE under title-chasing jockey Omar Walker in the opening race over the straight, MIRACLE STAR in the second, SURREAL under leading jockey Dane Nelson in the sixth, SPARKLE HAVEN (7th) and WILLIE GOLDSMITH (9th).