Knutsford Park Cup looks Locked and Loaded
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Fresh from a three-month absence, LOCKED AND LOADED should return on a winning note in the Knutsford Park Cup feature for three-year-olds (non-winners of two) over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park today.
The race has attracted 12 starters and in addition to LOCKED AND LOADED, others expected to carry the fight are recent winners HAILEY'S COMET, ISRAELITE under in-form champion jockey Dane Nelson, PRIME DIRECTIVE and DAGGA DAGGA LINKS. The latter is down to be ridden by four-time champion Omar Walker, who returns home following a four-month riding stint at Assiniboia Downs in Canada.
Trained by Anthony 'Baba' Nunes, LOCKED AND LOADED is back in action against some very fit horses and will have to put every foot right to topple this strong field.
However, the chestnut colt by Adore The Groom out of Runnin On Empty has looked sharp in his preparation, galloping five furlongs in a brisk 1:00.2 on September 4. Although he has been taken off Lasix for this race, this should not have a negative effect on the quality of his performance.
LOCKED AND LOADED has been programmed for his trophy and based on his fast-finishing second to THE CHOSEN ONE over this trip on May 24 when having DAGGA DAGGA LINKS just behind in third, should prove equal to the task with Shane Ellis aboard.
He has good speed, and having secured a perfect draw on the outside at post position 12, should battle the improving HAILEY'S COMET, DAGGA DAGGA LINKS and PRIME DIRECTIVE into the straight and find enough in the closing stages to stave off the Richard Azan-trained ISRAELITE.
Elsewhere on the nine-race programme which commences at 1:15 p.m., CLASSICAL TRAIN, who was disqualified after passing the post first over 1100 metres on August 30, should gain quick compensation by winning the three-year-old maiden race over the straight five course in which nine will run.
The Harry Parsard-trained filly showed good speed to win by two lengths from GLORIOUS CAUSE, but was penalised by the stewards for causing interference to the third horse, BATTLE SONG, leaving the half mile and placed third.
CLASSICAL TRAIN, with Richard Mitchell again in the saddle, won in the fairly good time of 1:08.2 and although Nelson's mount, SPORTING CLAY, has shown promise in two races and now runs on Lasix, the proven fitness of CLASSICAL TRAIN should make the difference.
EL PODEROSO, who has been a model of consistency at the open allowance level, should defy topweight of 57.0kg (Winston Griffiths up) and win the fifth race over the straight ahead of TRADITIONAL PRINCE. I also like DEO VOLENTE, now dropped in class, with title-chasing jockey Dick Cardenas riding for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, to win the opening race (high claiming) over 1400 metres, as well as MIDNIGHT LAUNCH in the seventh and the speedy BRILLIANT ACE in the nightpan.