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Four-horse war in Gold Cup

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Bigman In of the main contenders in the Republic Bank Gold Cup.

This year’s Republic Bank Gold Cup will be worth going miles to see, with the winner likely to be named “Horse of the Year.” 


With all the hype associated with this prestigious event, four horses standout. The quartet are the unbeaten Bigman In Town, Gabby’s Gold, Headline News and Nominee, which will line up in the main event on the Boxing Day card (December) at Santa Rosa Park in Arima.


In addition to this Grade One $500,000 purse event, the jockey championship could hinge on this race. Current leader Wilmer Galviz will be aboard the pre-race favourite Bigman In Town, which is unbeaten in four starts. 


Champion and challenger to the leader is Brian Boodramsing, who is two wins behind, will ride Headline News. Whichever rider lands the first-prize cheque could become the champion jockey for this year.


In what looks as an intriguing renewal of the Stayer’s Championship of the South Caribbean, the horse which they will all have to beat is the John O’Brien-trained Bigman In Town. This Jamaica-bred colt is not as good a horse as Bruceontheloose but he has the talent to land this event and give Galviz the jockey championship title.


Since his arrival he has been very impressive and won the Derby in good style under Javier Castellano. His only blot or sub-par performance was in his last start, when he was ridden out to hold the challenge of Headline News which keeps improving. Rumour has it that all was not well with Bigman In Town and it was a herculean effort for him to be victorious. Bigman In Town has galloped well in preparation for his final start of the season and should he win he will be named horse of the year.


Based purely on the form book, it will be difficult to beat Bigman In Town at his best and with his reception of weight from the older horses he could prove to strong at the end.


The Shivam Maharaj-owned Gabby’s Gold has been a talking horse since a two-year-old and he finished fifth in this event last year. Gabby’s Gold scored a minor upset in the Presidents Cup by two-and-a-half lengths and must be respected. This chestnut colt has caught the eye at gallops and his 59:40 seconds run over 1,000 metres last Sunday and his 35-second sprint over 600 metres two days ago says that he is ready. Trainer Derick Mosca has six entered in the event but this is his best shot with Nobel Abrego in the saddle. He is drawn wide but will make them all know that they are in a race once he does not try to follow Signal Alert.


Kenneth De Silva has Nominee trained to the minute and he knows how to get his horses tuned to the second. This horse scored readily in the Champagne Stakes on the grass and came back last time out to be second in a rough race in the Independence Cup when beaten by Galveston. 


Nominee has galloped supremely well in preparation for this event and could be the fly in the ointment. His gallop over 1,000 metres on Friday was nothing short of fantastic and he could go close.


O’Brien has two three-year-olds in the event and his Headline News which finished fourth in the derby continues to catch the eye at the gallops. Since he came back from injury before the derby, Headline News has shown that he has immense ability and he trotted up two starts ago before making Bigman In Town pull out all the stops in the Caribbean Champion Stakes. Headline News fired a bullet four days ago and has the ability to upset the likely principals in what will be an exciting event.


Former champion jockey Emile Ramsammy will be aboard the Terrance Thomas-trained Golden Dixieland in the 2,000-metre Gold Cup. This horse is capable of a big run and with Ramsammy in plate and a clear passage, could find a place.


From my perspective, a fit Bigman In Town will be difficult to beat but Headline News may improve past his older rivals to give O’Brien a one-two in the event.


Time alone will tell but there must be a Bigman in any town.


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