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Seasonal bows for Bigman, Momentum
BIGMAN IN TOWN and CRIME OF PASSION are set to make their turf debut and MOMENTUM will also appear for the first time this year when horse racing continues at Santa Rosa Park, Arima tomorrow.
There will be ten races during the seventh round of the ARC season and the feature attraction will be the Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial (GR.II). The $150,000 event, named in honour of the legendary trainer who passed away over a decade ago, will be contested earlier than ever before as it was staged closer to the middle of the year since it was introduced a few years ago.
The “Durant Memorial” (GR.II) will be the eighth event on the programme and is billed to be contested over 1,700 metres on the turf at 4:02PM.
The field of 12 includes the horses which finished first and second in the race for the 2013 horse-of-the-year title, but neither has ever competed on the turf.
Also against runner-up CRIME OF PASSION is the fact that he has never raced over two turns and he has to tote the top impost of 57 kilos. However this American bred four-year-old is definitely a class act as he convincingly won five of seven starts last year, including the Santa Rosa Dash (GR.II) and Stewards Cup (GR.IR) and gave the impression that he would stay two turns with a 15 lengths triumph over 1,350 metres in the $135,000 3-year-old sprint stakes in mid-November.
BIGMAN IN TOWN, like CRIME OF PASSION is also handled by champion trainer John O’Brien and last month became the most successful horse at the Jetsam Awards ceremony since its inauguration, when he won six awards, including the most prestigious Horse-of-the-Year.
After winning his first four starts, including the NGC CNG Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR.IR) and Caribbean Champion Stakes (GR.IR), since coming over from his native Jamaica in the middle of last year, the chestnut finished the season with a runner-up finish in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I) on Boxing Day.
BIGMAN IN TOWN will definitely relish the trip and if he acts on the turf, he could be the one to beat with the light impost of 50.5 kilos.
Three-time defending champion jockey Brian Boodramsingh, who rode his conqueror, HEADLINE NEWS in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I), will be astride Baskaran Bassawh’s son of Cowtown Cat for the first time.
However the horse which the president of the Racehorse Owners Association will probably be most concerned about is NOMINEE.
This American bred five-year-old has raced on the grass on just two occasions, but he has a perfect record on the surface.
Some fans would probably argue that there could have been no other winner when he competed over 1,600 metres last time out on January 18 with just 48,5 kilos, but it should be remember that NOMINEE won the only Grade I turf event of last season, the Champagne Stakes with the top weight of 56.5 kilos on Easter Monday, April 1.
The Antonio Navarro owned son of Awesome Again also more than held his own in staying races on the main track last year, placing fourth in the President’s Cup (GR.II) as well as second and third, respectively, in the Neal & Massy Independence Cup (GR.I) and the ‘Durant Memorial’, which were both switched off the lawn, and NOMINEE ended his season by finishing third in the Republic Bank Gold Cup (GR.I).
Kenneth De Silva’s charge was 9½ lengths adrift of runner-up BIGMAN IN TOWN in the $500,000 contest with 5.5 kilos more and will be three kilos heavier this time on his preferred surface, and for the first time, NOMINEE will also have the services of the Canada based Emile Ramsammy, this country’s most celebrated and successful jockey who has ridden over 2,500 winners in his career.
BUFFALO SOLDIER, who finished a decent second to NOMINEE on his turf debut last month, as well as RED LACE and WILD SHUFFLE, who were fourth and fifth, respectively, in that event, all have the opportunity to finish on the tins as they will each tote 51.5 kilos.
GABBY’S GOLD trailed the field attempting turf for the first time that day and last year’s President’s Cup (GR.II) winner and 2013 Champion Imported Stayer should find it tough with the impost of 55.5 kilos.
FLY JUNIOR is the most successful grass horse in the field with four wins, but they were all in sprints and he may also need more time to get back to his best form.
In only his second start following a seven months layoff, the Maniram Maharaj owned 1,100 metres track record holder trailed the field last time out on New Year’s Day in the 1,100 metres FCB Sian’s Gold Sprint (GR.II).
Perhaps the most interesting candidate in the field is KIDZ RO, who thundered down the homestretch to score over 1,400 metres on grass when he made his Santa Rosa debut last month.
The American bred four-year-old will carry seven kilos less, 49.5KG, but he will not be facing 70-55 rated horses on this occasion.
Like CRIME OF PASSION, KIDZ RO, who came here after competing mostly at Woodbine Race Course, Canada, is owned by the Raroma Stable and trained by O’Brien.
In the race before, the Jamaican bred MOMENTUM, winner of his two career starts by a combined 13¼ lengths last season, is being asked by trainer O’Brien to tackle two older ‘creoles’ and five American-bred three-year-olds.
The St James Stakes (GR.IRC&G) winner, who was last year’s champion juvenile, will be racing with about 48 kilos and could be very dangerous at 3:20PM.
The field for the 1,200 metres event also includes BERGERON RODEO, who finished runner-up in the FCB First Classic (GR.IIR) on New Year’s Day, debutant CAT’S HEIR as well as the locally bred CENTRAL SQUARE and LOAN SHARK, the third-placed finisher in the 2011 NLCB Easter Guineas (GR.IR) in his first race in over four months.
Post time is 11.30 am.