Trainers' race heats up, Thomas bags four
DEFENDING champion Wayne DaCosta yesterday responded to Anthony Nunes' Jamaica Oaks triumph by saddling two winners, reducing his rival's lead in the trainers' title race to approximately $370,000.
Nunes started the day $1.2 million in front, fattened by FAYROUZ' runaway victory in Saturday's Oaks.
However, DaCosta won with RICKY RICARDO in the second event and Gary Richards-ridden UNCLE FRANK in the fifth, beating Nunes' 4-5 favourite, SOTOMAYOR, into third place at 1820 metres.
A 17-time champion, DaCosta fought off Nunes, his perennial rival, to win his 14th straight title last year, mainly through the exploits of Triple Crown, Superstakes, and Diamond Mile-winning filly SHE'S A MANEATER.
Nunes started the new season with a flyer, racing to the lead, prompting predictions of him snapping DaCosta's reign this season.
'Baba' striking out
However, the champion trainer has rallied over the last month and even stuck his head in front last Saturday before FAYROUZ won the rich Oaks purse.
Meanwhile, champion apprentice Anthony Thomas seems intent on stealing a march on his seniors in the jockeys' title race, booting home a four-timer on the 10-race card.
Thomas moved eight clear of two-time champion Shane Ellis with a hat-trick 4-5 favourite RICKY RICARDO, 20-1 outsider LATE N DRAFTY and PRINCE SAMMO at 7-1 before closing the programme aboard 9-5 favourite DOUBLE DEAL.
Apprentice jockeys dominated the card with seven winners. Oneil Beckford, a three-kilo claimer, rode two winners, TWILIGHT ERUPTION at 8-1 in the seventh and 5-2 chance SUPERBOLT in the ninth.
Female apprentice Natalie Berger got in on the act by winning the eighth astride GUAVA GROUND.
Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday with an 11-race card scheduled.