Last update: 10-Dec-2013 12:48 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Galveston makes Neal & Massy Day perfect
The thrill of watching creole Galveston win the Bernard Dulal-Whiteway Independence Cup, outrunning some of the best imported stayers in T&T on the 51st anniversary of this country’s Independence, was something to savour. The feature was dedicated to the memory of Dulal-Whiteway, former Neal & Massy Group chief executive officer (CEO), and stalwart of T&T’s horse-racing industry. Thousands of horse-racing enthusiasts turned up at Santa Rosa Park for a day of entertainment and outstanding performances at Neal & Massy’s Independence Day Races, on the occasion of our Independence. The skill of champion jockey Brian Boodramsing ensured that Shivam Maharaj’s five year old stayed in front, to land the $120,000 first-place cheque. That performance was matched only by the impressive victory of Perfect Day in the Neal & Massy Oaks Stakes and the cumulative competition in the other races on the ten-event programme.
Millionaire and favourite Galveston had the 6,000-plus fans and turfites cheering, when he ran away from his rivals to win the 61st running of the prestigious event by four-and-a-half lengths from the 5/1 shot Nominee, with the well-backed Free Passage in third spot. The day certainly lived up to expectations with champion trainer John O’Brien, saddling three winners on the card.
Galveston gave Boodramsing his first Independence Cup success, while owner Maharaj celebrated his first victory in the event. The triumphant trainer Derick Mosca could not hide his delight, describing Galveston as “a very good horse.” “He just continues to improve and beat them as easy as was anticipated. With the race coming off the turf, I knew he would win easily. Once he quickened at the corner, that was it. It was a great performance,” said Mosca. In the co-feature, Neal & Massy Oaks, the Gary Subratie-trained Perfect Day, ridden by Wilmer Galviz, blew away the opposition in the 1,800 metres. The filly won impressively by five-and-three-quarter lengths and looks a worthy challenger for second place in the Derby. Punters and turfites are eagerly awaiting to see if owner Baskaran Bassawh can lead in the first two past the post in the Derby.
Boodramsing gave the race day a great start, when Hyat Princess gave owner Roger Hadeed and trainer O’Brien, the first toast on the day. Lady Felisha scored an easy victory for O’Brien and Boodramsing in the second as the duo doubled up. Intact then had his rivals “shuffling wildly” in the third, before Chester Roberts landed a touch with Red Hot Wheels, in the fourth. The Jimmy Rampersad-trained Lady Sage had too much toe for her rivals in the fifth, before trainer Jose William-Samaroo put his name on the score-sheet with the impressive Saynomore. Galveston then took advantage in the seventh before apprentice David Butcher brought Becquerel home in front for trainer Jonathan Lyder. Advantage they say will never end and Perfect Day showed exactly what that meant by trotting up in the Oaks. The aptly-named Headline News gave a seal of approval to Neal & Massy’s excellence, destroying his opposition for trainer O’Brien and owner Ruthven Smith in the last event. Thrills on the track over, the Neal & Massy All Stars played on, adding to the festive atmosphere and serenading the thousands who came with their picnic baskets, reviving memories of the Christmas meeting at the Queen’s Park Savannah. No one at Arima will forget their rendition of “Woman on The Bass.” Arima Race Club (ARC) president Hugh Lee-King described it as a “superb” day of racing. That, together with the fact that a sum of $330,000 was wagered in the Dulal–Whiteway Independence Cup, served as a major injection to the local racing industry. Chris Armond, the CEO of the ARC, thanked all and sundry for the support and was indeed happy with the $1.9 million wagered on the day.
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