Well, surprise surprise, days to go and the PNM suddenly looks good compared to the other team.
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Nominee looks a steal at weights
Half of the events during the third round of tomorrow’s Arima Race Cub’s season are billed for the turf, including the last three.
The feature is the penultimate event, a 1,600 metres contest involving eight 70-and-over rated horses. If this race is switched to the main course because of a waterlogged grass track, CRIME OF PASSION, who won the Stewards Cup (GR.I) last time out on December 7, will be added to the field.
The American bred four-year-old has won five of his seven career starts, but he has never raced over two turns, but no matter where the race takes place, NOMINEE will be the one to beat.
This American bred five-year-old is one of the best stayers in the country and it is difficult to imagine him being defeated in this event with his penny stamp weight allotment.
NOMINEE will take about three kilos overweight with three-time defending champion Jockey Brian Boodramsingh in the saddle, but it should have absolutely no effect as he was allotted just 45.5 kilos.
Antonio Navarro’s chestnut carried the joint top weight of either 56 or 56.5 kilos in the three open Grade I staying events last year and finished in the top three in all of them.
Facing the top class horses for the first time, NOMINEE won the Champagne Stakes (GR.I) on Easter Monday, April 1; placed second in the Neal & Massy Independence Cup (GR.I) on Independence Day, August 31 and closed off the season with a third place finish in the republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I) on Boxing Day, December 26.
If the race is switched to the main course it could be tougher for the son of Awesome Again as CRIME OF PASSION will come into the picture and GABBY’S GOLD, GOLDEN DIXIELAND and BUFFALO SOLDIER are expected to get much more respect.
They are three very experienced stayers, but none of them have been on the grass before.
GABBY’S GOLD trailed the field last time out in the Gold Cup (GR.I), but he desperately needed the run as it was his first outing since he won the President’s Cup (GR.II) over 1,900 metres on August 1.
The American bred four-year-old, who was denied victory by just a head in the Arima Race Club Cup (GR.II) in February last year, is expected to like the turf as his sire Johannesburg was unbeaten from six as a juvenile in Europe in 2001, however GABBY’S GOLD will find it extremely tough to give out as many as eight kilos to NOMINEE, who has been on the lawn only once but was triumphant in the Champagne Stakes (GR.I).
LANG AMOUR could be the main threat on either surface because of the weight.
The American bred six-year-old placed a respectable fifth in both outings on the turf, including in the 2012 Neal & Massy Independence Cup (GR.1), and LANG AMOUR was fourth at odds of 60/1 last time out in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I) when he was five lengths behind NOMINEE at level weights.
JUST CALL ME ROGER is definitely the most accomplished turf horse in the field, but the 2012 Champion Turf Performer will be facing the starter for the first time since Labour Day, June 19, and he has changed trainers.
And it should be noted that he the 2012 Neal & Massy Independence Cup (GR.I) winner placed second to NOMINEE at level weights in last year’s Champagne Stakes (GR.I), but will be about seven kilos heavier this time.
WILD SHUFFLE, who improved significantly last season and placed second over 1,100 metres in the FCB Sian’s Gold Sprint (GR.II) at odds of 60/1 on the grass on New Year’s Day, will go to post with about 50 kilos and he could finish in the money.
GOLDEN DIXIELAND, the other horse owned by the Estate of Wendell Kangaloo and trained by Terrance Thomas in the field, placed second in the President’s Cup (GR.II) and could be a danger on the dirt with 51 kilos, but like President’s Cup (GR.I) fifth placed finisher, BUFFALO SOLDIER, the American bred five-year-old has no experience on the turf.
RED LACE, who had three wins, three second and four thirds last year, has a runner-up finish on the turf, but she will have to take significant overweight and will find it tough with about 52 kilos.
BERGERON RODEO, a very creditable runner-up to his Shaffique Khan trained stable companion HOLY MAN on debut in the FCB First Classic (GR.IIR) on New Year’s Day, will be in action two races earlier over 1,200 metres at 3.05 pm.
The Aga Stables owned son of Successful Appeal will oppose seven fellow American bred three-year-olds maidens, including GOLIATH’S BOY, UNCLE NORMAN, PRINCESS SHE’S NOT and newcomers GUILTY AS SIN and CORONEO.
The West Indian bred three-year-old maidens will be in action over the same distance in the third at 12.30 pm and the field of seven includes JUSTCALLMEBAS, the third placed finisher in the Republic Online St James Stakes (GR.IRC&G) on Boxing Day, as well as CHAMPAGNE AFFAIR and MAXIMUS, who placed third and fourth in the Stud Farm Association’s Trial Stakes on New Year’s Day, and debutant LEGACY OF HOPE.
Just before, ALWAYS A PRINCESS will make her first appearance since she won the Gleneagle Stakes (GR.IIRF) at the end of June. This will be the first of five HI-5 betting races and punters will also attempt to select the first five finishers in the fourth (1.10 pm), sixth (2.28 pm), eighth (3.45 pm) and curtain (5.05 pm) events.
The Soca 6 will involve the last six events on the programme, beginning in the fifth with the 70-55 rated horses doing battle over 1,400 metres on the turf.
Post time is 11.15 am.
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