Though the 2023 Guineas will be the feature event on Tuesday’s six-race card at Santa Rosa Park in Arima, I think the Modified Benchmark Handicap for three-year-olds and over horses over 1,500 metres, will be the best betting race on the card.
Race four is a very competitive event and will see nine horses facing the starter. In this race, champion trainer John O’Brien has three key horses engaged in Soca Harmony, the 2022 Derby winner, Crown Prince, the 2022 Gold Cup winner and Princess Aruna, who finished fourth in the Derby.
This handicap is wide open and Gold Cup winner Crown Prince has been given top-weight of 58 kilos. He will be ridden by apprentice Tristan Phillip who will claim two kilos.
He must have a great chance if at his best on the turf track but he has not run with the same keenest on the grass. He will have to answer that question in this race.
Soca Harmony who won the Derby last year has not been at her best this season and though this horse will now have the assistance of Derby-winning rider Nobel Abrego, she will have 55.5 kilos to tote. However, she has the same issue as Crown Prince and must show that she can handle the turf course. She is expected to go close as she galloped with authority on Sunday with Guineas’ favourite In The Headlines.
The final O’Brien-trained horse in the event is Princess Aruna who will be ridden by Rico Hernandez. This horse has shown improvement in her last three starts and must have a chance to land a good prize with 47 kilos. She has a big chance and must go close.
Glenn Mendez has the speedy Marvel Vigor entered and this horse has never won over this trip. However, he is well-weighted with 54 kilos with Dillon Khelawan. Should Marvel Vigor be allowed an uncontested lead, we are in for a big run.
Trainer Michael Lutchman has Supremacy engaged and this horse must a big chance with 44 kilos and Hall of Famer Ricky Jadoo in the saddle. This horse must be respected with that impost and with Jadoo set to ride will go close.
The Shaffique Khan-trained Top of The Class must have a big shout in this event. He has been allotted 49 kilos and this could be lenient if he has been brought back to his best by his trainer. Andrew Poon has the prized ride.
Lester Alexis has Cool Cat ready to win this event. He has been allotted 55.5 kilos and Tristan Phillips will ride. This horse is a turf specialist and has been crying out for this trip and good ground.
Keith Lucas has News Flash engaged in the event but this horse is not proven on the turf track. However, this horse is too high in weight and can be written off.
Terrence Thomas has the final entrant in the nine-horse field with Leonardo Angel. This horse will tote 45.5 kilos and will be ridden by apprentice David Butcher.