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Weather holds key in Chanticleer feature

Friday, December 13, 2013
CHASE THE DRAGON, who finished second in this year’s ‘Breeders Classic, was entered for the Chanticleer Classic, but will be competing in the fourth event instead.

Race fans will be treated to the third nine-race card in succession when racing continues tomorrow, at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. It will be the 42nd round of the Arima Race Club’s 2013 season and the penultimate day of the sport in T&T for the year.


Of course, the final day is always the most prestigious of them all and fans are already anxiously awaiting Boxing Day, December 26, when the programme will be spearheaded by the $500,000 Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I) for the top class stayers and the two leading events for West Indian-bred juveniles of the season, the Republic Mortgages St. Ann’s Stakes (GR.IRF) and the Republic Online St. James Stakes (GR.IRC&G).


But there is still some business that needs to be taken care of before the bumper day.


Tomorrow’s card is highlighted by the inaugural running of the Chanticleer Classic (GR.IIR), a race named after one of the best locally bred horses seen in Trinidad in the almost 20 years of centralisation. This $150,000 event will be the second event of the card.


The weather will be the most important factor in determining the result, as this 1,100 metres affair is billed for the turf, but rain has forced races off the inner track for the last few weeks.


If it is switched to the main course, POT OF GOLD, a “main track only” entrant, could be the one running away with the $90,000 winners’ cheque.


The half-brother of 2010 NLCB Easter Guineas (GR.IR) winner GRAND RIVIERE, is definitely the class horse in the field as his impressive resume includes victory in the $500,000 Toyota Trinidad & Tobago Breeders Classic (GR.IRT&T) as well as a runner-up finish in the NLCB Easter Guineas (GR.IR); a third place finish in the Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) and a fifth place finish in the NGC CNG Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR.IR) in the last few months.


POT OF GOLD has not even been in an event as sharp as 1,100 metres, but he did score over 100 metres further in the first start of his career in January and should not have a problem with the distance, especially in a small field of just six runners.


Any possible danger could come from fellow John O’Brien trained runner CENTRAL SQUARE, who has far more experience in sprint races and is improving all the time. This son of Charismatic Cat scored a runaway victory over 1,100 metres on debut in December last season and has prevailed three times from four outings over 1,200 metres this year.


Both horses will be competing with the top weight of 56.5 kilos and it is very interesting to note that Wilmer Galviz, who partnered POT OF GOLD to victory over 1,350 metres last time out at the end of last month, will be aboard CENTRAL SQUARE.


This horse has been triumphant the last two times that the Venezuelan has been aboard.


GOLD RUSH is also representing O’Brien, but he is expected to have problems with the distance.


The chestnut who like POT OF GOLD is owned by Roma Sagan Maraj, was the beaten favourite four times in extended sprints this season and he should have even more trouble with a trip as sharp as 1,100 metres.


GOLD RUSH has actually proven to be best over two turns as he finished third in the ‘Breeders Classic (GR.IRT&T), second in the Chief Commander Stakes and prevailed by almost nine lengths over 1,750 metres last time out on November 23, however the son of Big Country is four kilos lighter than that POT OF GOLD and CENTRAL SQUARE and that could make things interesting.


PURPLE TOUCH, ZORRO and INDIAN MEDICINE are not expected to threaten on the main course, but it could be a completely different if the race for West Indian bred three-year-old stays on the turf.


If that is the case, POT OF GOLD will not face the starter and both GOLD RUSH and CENTRAL SQUARE will experience grass for the very first time.


INDIAN MEDICINE will more than likely be an outstanding favourite as she has been involved in five turf sprints and is yet to taste defeat, and the horse which was bred and is trained by Harold Chadee for his son Dave, has not only been winning on the grass, she has been trouncing the opposition as her combined margin of victory is over 25 lengths.


Two of the five wins were over 1,050 metres and the others were over Saturday’s trip.


PUPRLE TOUCH is stepping up in class, but his two wins were on the turf over 1,100 metres and he could follow INDIAN MEDICINE home if the race is not switched.


CHASE THE DRAGON, who finished second in this year’s ‘Breeders Classic (GR.IRT&T) and sixth in the Derby (GR.IR), had subscriptions pair for the Chanticleer Classic (GR.IIR), but he will be competing in the fourth event at 1:50PM instead.


Six fellow 70-55 rated horses will be in opposition over 1,750 metres, including DIRECTOR DREAM, the fourth placed finisher in last year’s Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic (GR.IR), and FARAD, runner-up in his last three starts.


After finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Stewards Cup (GR.I) last Saturday, WILD SHUFFLE and KING WHISTLER will make a quick return to action.


The American bred five-year-olds are in a field of nine 90-60 rated horses in the penultimate event at 4:23PM. Also included in this 1,200 metres event is STAR TIGER, a winner of his last two, EL BANDIDO DE ORO and ONE FORTHEROAD, who placed third in the Derby (GR.IR) and fourth in the Guineas (GR.IR) last year.


In the sixth event, four American bred two-year-olds; THISONESFORRON, UNCLE NORMAN, GOLIATH’S BOY, KODO, will be making their debut as seven do battle over 1,150 metres at 3;05PM.


Action will actually get going with the West Indian-bred “babes” racing over the same trip at 12:00NOON. The field of six also includes four debutants, JUSTCALLMEBAS, LUVDATCAT, TWO GOLD and SOCA RHAPSODY.


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