Tue | Aug 9, 2022

Atomica, Mahogony to help Dawkins title race

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2022 | 12:13 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Mahogony, ridden by Dane Dawkins, easily wins the seventh race over 6 furlongs at Caymanas Park, on Monday, June 21, 2021.
Mahogony, ridden by Dane Dawkins, easily wins the seventh race over 6 furlongs at Caymanas Park, on Monday, June 21, 2021.

TITLE-CHASING DANE Dawkins should close Saturday’s 10-race card with a feature double, having the leg up aboard unbeaten ATOMICA in the Jamaica St Leger and MAHOGANY in the Clovis Metcalfe Cup at seven and a half furlongs.

Billed as the Battle of the Sexes, the 10-furlong St Leger will be about pace and class, which ATOMICA, taking nothing from BLUE VINYL, has in abundance with a five-pound sex allowance to boot.

The marauding filly clocked an astonishing 1:37.0, going gate-to-wire, to land the 1000 Guineas under a hand ride whereas BLUE VINYL had to get reminders off the home turn, from fourth position, to win the 2000 Guineas in 1:37.4 a day later.

Though the colts ran a far quicker opening five furlongs, splits of 46.0 and 58.2, it was short-running BRINKS, YELLOWSTONE, and EMPEROROFTHECATS who were the pacesetters. BLUE VINYL only ran through when BRINKS ran out of steam approaching the furlong pole.

EMPEROROFTHECATS, who came off the home turn second and was still third a furlong out, returned two weeks later and was caught by BERNING RED at seven furlongs, exposing the quality of the 2000 Guineas last two furlongs.

Though ATOMICA bowled along in the 1000 Guineas in splits of 47.3 and 59.4, her turn of foot exploded into 1:11.2 and 1:23.4, eclipsing the ridden-out colts and geldings’ 1:11.3 and 1:24.1, eventually stopping the clock almost a full second quicker without being asked a question.

Dawkins knows ATOMICA well and has a good draw at stall 10 whereas BLUE VINYL is drawn out wide at 12, which is absolutely bad news heading into the clubhouse turn.

HAPPY HUNTING GROUND

In the Clovis Metcalfe, MAHOGANY, who has twice flirted with track records, running from near or out the mile chute, returns to his happy hunting ground in the Clovis Metcalfe Cup, facing last season’s top classic campaigners led by Jamaica Derby and St Leger hero CALCULUS, joined by FURTHER AND BEYOND and BILLY WHIZZ.

Running ridiculously light at 117lb, MAHOGANY, the speediest in the line-up should have the event at his mercy after hardly turning a hair on last, clocking an unchallenged 1:11.1 at six furlongs on May 7, his second run off a six-month lay-up.

Carrying topweight 126lb in his first race this season, MAHOGANY failed by three-quarter length to catch RUNAWAY ALGO at five and a half furlongs on April 18, a huge marker event out of which the winner returned to run a cracker at seven and a half furlongs, collared by I’VE GOT MAGIC at the wire.

I AM FRED, who was third behind RUNAWAY ALGO and MAHOGANY, has won twice since, the last being a June 4 upset victory at nine furlongs and 25 yards, flooring stablemate BILLY WHIZZ and CALCULUS, franking MAHOGANY’s 1:11.1.

An unrelenting pacer when stretched out down the backstretch, MAHOGANY’s best times includes 1:16.1 at six and a half furlongs. Sparingly raced with 10 wins from 17 starts, five-year-old MAHOGANY has not been this light since skirting the eight and a half furlong track record, clocking 1:43.0 when at his devastating best in 2020.

However, a six-month break at the back end of the 2020 season, after finishing fourth behind NIPSTER in the Ian Levy Cup, who did not return to the races until June 2021, ending last season with three victories from as many starts, before another six-month break interrupted his win streak.

With no matching speed around, MAHOGANY should be toying with rivals from the start before going about his business with Dawkins.