Nuclear Power, superbly ridden by Wilmer Galviz, carved a new image in local racing and gave local breeding and the “Sport of Kings” renewed local enthusiasm.
The Three-year-old, grey filly tracked the leaders until being set alight at 800 metres out to beat the Glenn Mendez trained pair of Valorous and Stewards Cup winner Whisper Light in a driving finish in the 2,000-metre, Grade One NLCB Gold Cup on Boxing Day.
The event was the feature of the National Lotteries Control Board Boxing Day programme at Santa Rosa Park, Arima, on Tuesday.
Before a largest and most enthusiastic Boxing Day crowd at Arima, the Harriram Gobin trained Nuclear Power became only the third filly to win the prestigious event at Santa Rosa Park since the sport switched homes from the Queen’s Park Savannah to Santa Rosa Park in 1993.
Nuclear Power, owned by champion owner Shivam Maharaj, showed to all and sundry that she is one of the best stayers in the Southern Caribbean.
Many in the large crowd believed that the race was one of the best seen for almost a decades and with 300 metres left to race, there were five horses spread across the track fighting to land the $132,000 first prize cheque.
With Galviz driving Nuclear Power for all he was worth on the rail, Champion jockey Ricky Jadoo had the Merlin Samlalsingh owned Valorous eyeballing the grey all the way to the finish-line with Dillon Khelawan and Whisper Light making it a three-way go battle for championship honours. This was a turfites dream as the trio raced in unison to the line.
However, it was Galviz and Nuclear Power which powered a head in front at the line with creole Valorous running blinder to be a short-head in front of Whisper Light at the line.
In the NLCB Grade Two - St Ann's Stakes over 1,350 metres, the Chevan Maharaj trained filly Shes So Spectaula lived up to her name with a scintillating performance. She cruised home all alone with her rider Rico Hernandez doing precious little. She recorded a time which was two-fifths of a second faster than that which was produced by Regal Intention in the NLCB St James Stakes. Shes So Spectaula is clearly the best juvenile in training and could be the 'Triple Crown' champion of 2019.
Selby Browne, NLCB- Director of Marketing and Sponsorship was happy with the day's racing where some $1.5 million was wagered on the 10-race programme. He stated, "The day attracted a large crowd and the entertainment provided punters, turfites and friends of the sport with great enjoyment as the horses and jockeys combined their talents and produced some memorable finishes, which were complemented with lucrative rewards. I am thankful that we the NLCB have partnered with the ARC and have crystalised a relationship which began in 1958. We at NLCB hope that our partnership with the ARC will continue to benefit the racing industry and the country.
Baskaran Bassawh, President of the Arima Race Club (ARC), was ecstatic about the day’s racing and: “This is wonderful. look at the crowd, it is a good day. This is a good Boxing Day for racing. This is great for the racing industry.”
Champion Trainer Glenn Mendez showed that he meant business by saddling the Louis De Meillac owned Rant 'N' Rave with Champion Jockey Ricardo Jadoo up to win the opener on the big day.
Then Sven Balroop who was riding his first race in public made a fairy-tale start to his career by landing Highland Lass for trainer Harold Chadee. Chadee repeated his winning turn when he saddled Regal Intention with Wilmer Galviz astride to beat Early Bird in the third before John O'Brien saddled his lone winner on Boxing Day with Shes So Spectaula and Rico Hernandez.
Rough 'N' Tumble was on his best behaviour for Galviz second win as Chadee saddled his third winner on the card at the centralised venue.
Lester Alexis got a belated Christmas present when Naim Samaroo booted home favourite Chinta before Samaroo landed his double aboard favourite Musical Score in the seventh.
Brian Boodramsing then got on the scoresheet when he landed his first winner with outsider Khaleesi, at odds of 23/1.
Nuclear Power then landed “Gold” for Gobin and Maharaj in the feature event to go to the top of the class.
Yosenyer Serrano then ended the day in style for trainer Gobin and owner Shivam Maharaj as Master of War scored decisively in the finale crashing the dream of Boodramsing and Ravishing as racing said adieu to the 2018 season.
After the grand Boxing Day programme, Nuclear Power is the new “Queen” of local racing while the Arima Race Club now has a “Nuclear Weapon” for life.