Orville Clarke, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Former champion jockey Shane Ellis closed out the 2013 racing season in style at Caymanas Park yesterday, thanks to a sparkling three-timer on the 11-race programme to upstage returning champion jockey Dane Nelson.
His winners included the unbeaten American colt FORCE DE JOUR who, though tested for the first time in four starts by the highly fancied BUBBLING ANGELINE, moved away from her leaving the furlong pole to win the Sweet Ruckus Trophy over 1400 metres for native and imported three year olds by five lengths.
Ellis also won the 10th race over 1820 metres aboard 8-5 favourite HOGANS HERO for trainer Anthony Nunes and followed up in the closing race over 1200 metres with the 18-1 outsider SOON COME for trainer Morris Powell, Both 4-y-o colts produced storming late runs to win.
By virtue of this triple, Ellis finished the season with 57 winners to hold down fourth place in the standings, behind champion Dane Nelson (116 wins) who followed up his four-timer on Boxing Day with two winners (MAN ALIVE, MIDNIGHT LAUNCH) yesterday to beat long-time leader Omar Walker by nine winners.
The Nunes-trained FORCE DE JOUR made it four victories from as many starts in the Sweet Ruckus Trophy, making virtually all as the 1-4 favourite.
He was chased by the Philip Feanny-trained filly BUBBLING ANGELINE who joined him leaving the quarter pole. A neck and neck duel ensued before FORCE DE JOUR found another gear leaving the furlong pole to win going away in a field of six.
By Sharp Humor out of Song Bird Too, FORCE DE JOUR is co-owned by Elias Haloute, Dr Percival Henry and Stephan Narinesingh.
Meanwhile, Carlton Watson easily overpowered long-time leader W.B. Racing (Wilbert Bagwandeen) to win the owners' championship for the first time with close to $18 million in stakes.
Watson, the CEO of Cal's Manufacturing Limited, won four races on Boxing Day, including the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup over 2400 metres with the Patrick Chang-trained SWEET TRAIL, while he put the icing on the cake yesterday with 3-5 favourite MIDNIGHT LAUNCH (Nelson up) for returning champion trainer Wayne DaCosta in the seventh race over a mile.