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Will DaCosta break the Superstakes jinx?

Published:Thursday | November 12, 2015 | 4:08 PMOrville Clarke
Wayne DaCosta (Right) file Trainer Wayne DaCosta (right) holds a strong hand in tomorrow's Cal's Jamaica Derby. DaCosta trains ante post favourite ALI BABA and the expected second favourite SEEKING MY DREAM. The latter is owned by Derrick Smith (left).

Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta will mount a three-pronged assault on the $4.5 million Burger King Superstakes at Caymanas Park on Saturday, as he bids to win the prestigious mile and quarter race for the first time.

The Superstakes remains the only major race on the calendar that has eluded the 14-time champion trainer in a long and distinguished career spanning close to 40 years. But DaCosta feels it's about time be breaks the jinx and believes he has the horse to do it - PERFECT NEIGHBOUR.

The 2013 derby and St Leger winner is enjoying a rich vein of form, having won three of his last four races in grade one company, including the Prime Minister's Stakes and Governor General's Stakes, both over the Superstakes distance in recent months. And for good measure, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR ran on strongly to win the popular Gold Cup race over 1400 metres on October 17.

"Perfect Neighbour is an exceptional horse", DaCosta emphasised. "He has done everything asked of him coming into the race and with Robert Halledeen retaining the ride, having struck up a good partnership with him in all three wins this season, I am quietly confident that everything will fall into place this time around.

"Of course, Typewriter, the reigning Horse of the Year, is a very dangerous horse and should ensure a close race in a bid to win the race for the third straight year. But I am keeping my fingers crossed that Perfect Neighbour will deliver this one for me," added DaCosta, who faces what amounts to the biggest challenge of his career.

DaCosta, who also saddles HOVER CRAFT and ROYAL VIBES both of whom will get the distance but lack the class of PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, said PERFECT NEIGHBOUR represents his best hope in a nine-horse field, despite the presence of last year's winner TYPEWRITER, who seeks his third consecutive win with big-race jockey Shane Ellis and Spencer Chung teaming up once again.

Last year, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, though highly fancied at 2-1, finished 10 lengths third to TYPEWRITER and the outsider UNCLE TAF who will again try his luck in Saturday's 37th running of the race.

Superstakes a graveyard

Over the years, the Superstakes has been a graveyard for several high profile DaCosta trained horses. The most celebrated was the 1996 Triple Crown winner WAR ZONE, who that year was backed as if defeat was out of the question with Andrew Ramgeet aboard, but heavy rain on the day turned the track into a quagmire and poor WAR ZONE, who was unbeaten in 12 races going into the race, could not handle the going, finishing third to Trinidadian horse ADORING GROOM and the celebrated claiming horse PRINCE AKEEM .

Despite this, WAR ZONE was voted Horse of the Year and years later was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred racing in Jamaica to the delight of his proud owner Edmund Thomas.