It happens every year as we celebrate Indian Arrival Day. I get phone calls and emails, and it comes up in conversation with friends, colleagues and family.
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Queen Esther goes for fifth straight coronation
Queen Esther will go after her fifth victory in succession when horse racing continues at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, tomorrow.
The daughter of A Great Team is among 12 horses declared to race over 1,200 metres in the eighth and final event of the second round of the Arima Race Club’s 2014 season.
Just three horses have been in a position to go after five straight wins in the last two years and only one of them has been able to accomplish the feat. Ramblin’ Rose actually won the first six starts of her career, but she then finished down the field in the Top Of The Class Stakes in June and has not been seen since.
Free Passage completed his beaver trick in the 2012 Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR.IR) on Republic Day, September 24, but surrendered his win streak and unbeaten record on dirt next time out when he broke sluggishly and placed third in the Caribbean Sprint Championship (GR.IIIR).
Last year’s Derby (GR.IR) and “Sprint Championship” (GR.IIIR) winner Bigman In Town made it four straight with triumph in the Caribbean Champion Stakes (GR.IR), but the Jamaican bred chestnut then lost for the first time in Trinidad when he finished second to Headline News in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I) on Boxing Day, December 26.
Queen Esther, who scored by over five lengths when the curtain came down on the 2013 season on Boxing Day, is the first horse in the lower ranks to have such an impressive streak going in quite a while, but while Dale Kalloo’s five-year-old has improved tremendously since the streak began when she turned in her maiden certificate in mid-November, she is taking a big step up in class.
After two straight victories over 40 & lower rivals, Queen Esther stepped up and overwhelmed 45 & lower opposition on Boxing Day, but this is a much steeper climb and the Juan Mosca trained chestnut is now facing a bunch of 55-40 rated opponents, spearheaded by Against The Odds, Direct Injection and Precise Rule.
After scoring by over nine lengths against 45 & lower rivals in mid-November, Against The Odds moved back into this class and, after going down by just half-length the week after, he prevailed by over five lengths last time out a month ago.
Direct Injection has placed in the top three in six of his last seven starts in this class, winning two of them and the American-bred five-year-old will have the services of Emile Ramsammy, this country’s most successful jockey.
The Canada-based 50-year-old, who has ridden over 2,500 career winners, was also in action at Santa Rosa Park on New Year’s Day.
Like Direct Injection, Precise Rule finished in the top three in six of his last seven completed starts. The Shaffique Khan trained four-year-old was narrowly beaten all six times, but this could be his time to score as he will be 4.0 kilos lighter than Direct Injection and 4.5 kilos less than Against The odds.
Queen Esther, who will tote two kilos more than Precise Rule could find it very difficult to keep the streak alive.
The field for the 5:05PM contest also includes Bears And Bulls, who has struggled since winning the Derby (GR.IR) at odds of 87/1 in 2011.
One Fortheroad, who placed third in the Derby (GR.IR) the year after, will line up in the event just before and could be a threat to score for the first time since the Top Of The Class Stakes as he will be racing with about 52.5 kilos.
The 1,300 metres contest is the feature event with eight 90-60 rated horses declared to compete at 4:25PM.
Wild Shuffle, a three-time winner last year who finished second in the Sian’s Gold Sprint (GR.II) on New Year’s Day, El Bandido, who has a victory and two close runner-up finishes in his three starts since he returned from a layoff, and King Whistler, who has returned to form in his last two starts and will have Ramsammy up, are the three expected to take most of the betting.
But the field also includes Sewjero, who won in this class in October, but has faced the top class horses in his last two outings, including last time out in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I).
There were no winning HI-5 tickets in the final event on New Year’s Day and as a result over $43,000 will be carried over into the pool for the second event.
The race will be over 1,100 metres on the turf and 15 horses, rated 45
& lower, have been declared to face the starter at 1.10 pm.