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Leading Lady runs from stall 8
Leading Lady, the overwhelming favourite heading into next Thursday’s 2,000-metre Massy United Insurance Trinidad Derby Stakes, will leave from the eighth gate of the 11-horse marquee event on Independence Day at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
Owner Chevan Maharaj, who attended yesterday’s draw ceremony held in the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) room at Santa Rosa Park, drew the post position for the Jamaican-bred filly which will be partnered by Carlos Montalvo.
The head table saw Peter Acham, president of the Arima Race Club (ARC), Dennis Benisar, general manager, Massy United Insurance Trinidad, Michael Armstrong, Director Bussiness Development, Strategy and Marketing, Massy United Insurance, Anthony Wight, ARC’s general manager, Roger Hadeed, the marketing manager of ARC and Anthony Harford, master of ceremonies.
Harford greeted all for coming out to the press conference and thanked the ROA for their kindness in allowing the use of their facility. Harford intimated that there was going to be a new partnership, one that has been brokered for three years between the Massy United Insurance and the ARC.
The draw for the Derby was led off by Leading Lady because the filly has the most points (97) heading into the big race. Jake O’Brien, who won the first leg of local racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ the Carib Guineas with Valorous, drew stall four for the Merlin Samlalsingh owned horse.
O’Brien, who has five horses in the $350,000 purse event, picked post position seven for the speedy Rocket Wheels. The only man to train two ‘Triple Crown’ winners in the country Glenn Mendez was next on stage and he selected stall five for his talented home bred colt Caesar Country.
Wight pulled gate six for the disappointing Battle Cry before Dennis Fakoory selected stall 10 for his Lord Silver.
Owner Rawdon Kanta Persad choice pole position three for his Divine Inspiration before Sean Mohammed picked the inside berth for Hello from the Bobby Persad stable. The liked pacesetter on the Derby, Discouldrun, pulled gate nine before Mendez pulled the outside berth for Golden Choice. Chevan Maharaj had the final say selecting stall two for Maha Raja, the pacesetter for his champion filly Leading Lady.
Four overseas riders are booked to ride in the Derby.
Acham said, “I must thank the Massy United Insurance for coming on board and sponsoring this major event. Everyone knows how important the Derby is in racing in any part of the world and no sport can exist without sponsorship. We have signed an agreement for three years and I hope it will be longer than that, as we embark on what we all hope will be a successful venture.
“I leave you with two latin words from my Alma-Mata, Nitendo Vinces, which means ‘By Striving We Will Conquer’.”
Benisar was the man of the moment and he clearly indicated his love for sport. He thanked everyone for coming to the launch saying: “This is not something new to Massy United Insurance as we have been sponsoring the Barbados Derby for 33 years. This year the Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown, Barbados was packed for the Derby, where two horses from T&T participated.
“We not only invited horse racing enthusiast but wanted to make it a family affair. This would mean that the horse racing family will get larger. The same manner in which we paid for two from Trinidad and to bring in two Barbados runners for the Derby on Independence Day.
“Massy United Insurance knows that a sound investment needs a solid base and as such we are sponsoring the biggest race on the horse racing calendar the Massy United Insurance Derby.
“I want to encourage not only the owners and turfites to come out but everyone to come out to Santa Rosa Park on August 31.”
Post positions for the Massy Remittances Independence Cup over 1,800m were also conducted after the Derby draw. This race attracted nine of the country’s top stayers, and it will be a showdown between the new kid on the block Whisper Light, last year’s “Horse of The Year”, Thisonesforron, Stockyard, Conquest Bespoke and Trini Navigator.
Here are the declared runners and their riders for the Derby and Independence Cup.
MASSY UNITED INSURANCE TRINIDAD DERBY
1 Hello B Persad F Urdaneta
2 Maja Raja J O’Brien D Khelawan
3 Divine Inspiration D Bennett N Ortiz
4 Valorous J O’Brien Ivan Pimentel
5 Caesar Country G Mendez R Jadoo
6 Battle Cry J O’Brien B Boodramsingh
7 Rocket Wheels J O’Brien K Khelawan
8 Leading Lady J O’Brien C Montalvo
9 Discouldrun H Chadee J Boodramsingh
10 Lord Silver J O’Brien S Rodrigo
11 Golden Choice G Mendez R Thomas
MASSY REMITTANCES INDEPENDENCE CUP
2 Conquest Bespoke H Gobin I Pimentel
3 Peace N Glory B Persad C Montalvo
4 Trini Navigator B Persad D Khelawan
5 Buffalo Soldier H Chadee J Boodramsingh
6 Stockyard H Gobin R Ali
7 Thisonesforron J O’Brien N Abrego
8 Magical Victory J O’Brien K Khelawan
9 Whisper Light G Mendez R Jadoo