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Holy Man will attempt to get back on track tomorrow during the 13th day of racing at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
The feature event is a over 1,750 metres contest for horses rated 100-70 and six high quality animals have been declared to do battle.
Spearheading the field is last year’s President’s Cup winner Gabby’s Gold, and the NGC CNG Trinidad Derby winner Free Passage and Holy Man are also in the mix.
After winning the first four starts of his career Holy Man surrendered his unbeaten record in very unfortunate circumstances last time out when the stirrup iron broke and he could not even cross the finish line in a 1,750 metres event for 70 and over horses.
The American bred three-year-old had prevailed against 100-70 rated opponents over the same trip when he attempted two turns for the first time on February 22 and he could get back on track right here.
And the fact that the Derick Mosca trained pair of Gabby’s Gold and Free Passage, who are both accustomed to competing against the top class horses, are not at their best could contribute to Holy Man’s cause.
Gabby’s Gold finished off the tins in his last three starts, but his last two races were his only experiences on the grass and he was returning from a five months layoff in the outing before that.
The American bred five-year-old actually hinted at a return to form last time out when he finished a decent sixth in the Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial (GR.II) in the middle of February, 7¼ lengths behind the winner, Nominee.
Last year’s “Durant Memorial” winner Free Passage performed well for most of the season, but went sour in his last two starts and his struggle has continued this year.
The Jamaican bred five-year-old trailed a field of seven when Holy Man prevailed over 1,750 metres in this class on February 22, and connections are hoping that he could begin to get back on track with a three kilo drop in the weights.
Woden, owned by Shivam Maharaj like Gabby’s Gold, has also lost form after four wins and a second in his first five starts over two turns, however the American bred four-year-old has been transferred to the stable of Richard Stephen and we will have to wait and see what kind of impact the change in surroundings has on him.
Maharaj is not the only owner with two horses in the race as the AGA Stables is being represented by Holy Man and fellow American bred three-year-old Bergergon Rodeo.
The latter is taking a big step up after competing against 75-50 rated opposition last time out, but Bergergon Rodeo was waiting for a “distance of ground” and comfortably won that race over Saturday’s trip on March 8 to turn in his maiden certificate.
And it should be remembered that Shaffique Khan’s inmate went down by just a length on debut against stable companion and overwhelming favourite Holy Man in the FCB First Classic on New Year’s Day.
Rounding out the field is Buffalo Soldier, who was recently bought by Dave Chadee and is now being conditioned by his father Harold.
This American bred five-year-old is returning to the main course after competing and performing well in his last three on the turf, including a fourth placed effort in the ‘Durant Memorial’ (GR.II).
Buffalo Soldier is a respected stayer and he could be very dangerous with about 51.5 kilos and last year’s joint Champion Jockey Wilmer Galviz in the saddle.
The Venezuelan will also be aboard J’ouvert, who was installed as the favourite in his only start down here but missed the break and could only finish seventh of the eight 100-70 runners in a 1,250 metres contest in the middle of last month.
The American bred son of two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Midnight Lute is dropping in class to face 75-50 rated opposition, but stepping up in distance to 1,700 metres.
Eight will be in opposition in the day’s sixth event including Prince Zeshan, one of the most successful horses in last year’s Triple Crown series; third in the NLCB Easter Guineas and NGC CNG Trinidad Derby and runner-up in the Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic, who was in the winners’ enclosure just last Saturday.
Loan Shark and Farad, who were second and fourth, respectively, in that 1,750 metres contest for 70-55 rated horses, are also back and the field also includes Plim Plum; American bred three-year-old Goliath’s Boy and Sugar Mike Stakes hero Gold Rush, who has scored twice over two turns, along with placing second in the Chief Commander Stakes and third in the Toyota Trinidad & Tobago Breeders Classic.