Meru a strong fancy
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Racing is on at Caymanas Park on Saturday and Easter Monday, both days featuring the Guineas Classics to be run over 1600 metres.
On Saturday, the native-bred three-year-old fillies will hold court in the 38th running of the 1000 Guineas, while on Monday it's the turn of the colts and geldings in the 2000 Guineas. Both races offer purses of $3.6 million.
Meanwhile, both the Pick-9 and Super-6s start anew on Saturday's programme. The Pick-9 will embrace races two to 10, the first Super-6 from race one to six and the overlapping Super-6 from five to 10.
We look at the second Super-6 which includes the 1000 Guineas (10th and final race) to be contested by the maximum 16 starters.
It commences in the fifth with a $250,000-$220,0000 claiming race over 1820 metres to be contested by nine starters, including RIFLEMAN, who was a disappointing favourite at 4-5 over the distance on March 17 when finishing a distant 10th to STOCK MARKET and FEELINGINTHESLIPS.
Prior to that race, RIEFLEMAN romped home by a wide margin over the same distance on February 18. For Saturday's race, he has come down all of 7.0kg in the scales to carry a mere 49.0kg under 3.0kg claiming apprentice Conrad Ellis, and should rebound with conditions decisively in his favour.
Others such as FEELINGINTHESLIPS, recent winner ANDY CAPP, APOINTFORKERRY and AWESOME WILDCAT are worthy of consideration, especially Omar Walker's mount CHRISTMAS GIFT who raced prominently to the last furlong behind BORA BORA recently.
Next on the programme is a 4-y-o maiden condition race over 1600 metres in which the lightly raced but promising REGIONAL LEADER looks the one to beat with Shane Ellis aboard.
The 4-y-o colt by Region of Merit out of Ok Mom was highly fancied to win on his March 17 debut over 1200 metre and wasn't disgraced (raced prominently) in finishing 71/4 fifth to easy winner ANNTRACK. Now better for the experience with Ellis replacing the sparingly-used Milton Powell, REGIONAL LEADER should beat CHAMPION LINKS and TE-AMO.
In the seventh for maiden 3-y-os over 1400 metres, MARINE DRIVE, with champion jockey Dick Cardenas riding for trainer Anthony Nunes, and STORMY CAT, under leading jockey Dane Nelson, should have a battle royal for top honours in a field of 11.
MARINE DRIVE ran creditably on February 18 when finishing 31/2 lengths fourth to PLEASURE TRAIN and SPARKLE HAVEN, and having worked well since (galloping seven furlongs in 1:29.2), is preferred to Carl Anderson's STORMY CAT, who finished a good third to STAR FLYER over 1200 metres on March 24.
Briefly, the lightly raced MERU, who has been burning up the track at exercise with bullet work after bullet work, looks a five-star banker in the eighth race over the straight for four-year-olds and up, with Richard Mairs aboard.
The same is true of the unbeaten American colt BLAST THEM AWAY (working brilliantly - galloping 51/2 furlongs in 1:05.0) in the ninth race over 1300 metres. And in the 1000 Guineas, the choice has to be the Wayne DaCosta-trained EXOTIC GOLD (vastly improved) by virtue of her fast-time (1:25.3) victory over TRINITHETUTOR and SPARKLE HAVEN (both working brilliantly) in the recent Thornbird Stakes over 1400 metres. Nelson again has the ride aboard the stretch-running filly.
SECOND SUPER-6 FANCIES
(5) RIFLEMAN/CHRISTMAS GIFT
(6) REGIONAL LEADER/CHAMPION LINKS
(7) MARINE DRIVE/STORMY CAT
(9) BLAST THEM AWAY
(10) EXOTIC GOLD/TRINITHETUTOR/PHILISTIA