|Race Day Preview Day 23 Saturday 30th June 2012|
MONTEJO will return to the track on Saturday when horse racing continues at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. There will be eight races during the 23rd round of the Arima Race Club’s 2012 Season and the American-bred five-year-old will be involved in the penultimate at around 4.50 p.m. Montejo is definitely the class act, but the event for 90 & over rated horses could be a very competitive affair as he has not faced the starter in four months. After just failing by a head to head to catch Boogie Blues in the Grade I Gold Cup to close out last season on Boxing Day (December 26), Zanim Meah-John’s chestnut was last seen in the Arima Race Club (ARC) Cup when he nosed out Strikes Not Spares to win the Grade II 1,800-metre contest almost exactly two months later. Montejo was giving the runner-up three kilos that day, but he was allotted 8.5 kilos more that Terrance Thomas’ inmate on this occasion. However trainer Jose William-Samaroo has enlisted the services of Shawn Samuel and the apprentice will minus three from the heavy burden of 58.5 kilos. That leaves Strikes Not Spares 5.5 kilos lighter, but his jockey Ronald Ali came in heavier than usual in the last two racing days and it would be interesting to see if he does so again.
Ali was “catching” an average of 52 kilos when racing was last contested on Labour Day (June 19) and if he comes in around the same weight this time, Strikes Not Spares will take two kilos overweight and there will only be 3.5 kilos between the two. Since his tremendous effort at odds of 13/1 in the ARC Cup, the American-bred four-year-old has failed to shine in his two starts. However it should be said that he was not expected to as Strikes Not Spares expectedly struggled on the turf in the middle of March and then finished fourth of six over 1,200 metres – a distance well short of his best – a month later. The Christopher James-owned chestnut has been waiting for a return to two turns on the main course and, unlike Montejo, he will not have to answer any questions concerning rust. But the 1,750-metre contest is certainly not a two-horse race. In fact, all eight declared starters have the credentials to lead the way home. On paper, Mobthewarrior actually looks the one to beat with the very generous impost of 48.5 kilos. But connections have made the curious decision to book Ryan Thomas for the ride the Canadian-bred for the first time and he could end up taking significant overweight. Thomas has scored just once for the season and his body weight was listed at 52.5 kilos in the Labour Day programme.
The Stephen Jardim-trained five-year-old, who was beaten by two lengths into fourth with 51.5 kilos in the ARC Cup, finally got off the mark against 100-80 rated horses on Indian Arrival Day (May 30), but was then asked to run only ten days later and finished a tame fourth on the turf last time out in the Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial. Just Call Me Roger impressively won that $150,000 contest and, although he seems to be better suited to the grass, this Paul Mouttet-owned gelding is more than capable on the dirt. The Glenn Mendez-trained American-bred five-year-old proved as much when he trotted up by ten lengths over Saturday’s trip in his second start in these parts about a year ago and he could be dangerous if allowed an uncontested lead. Sacred Trust is one of last year’s top sprinters who has done very well over two turns on the grass this season by finishing third in both the Grade I Champagne Stakes and “Durant Memorial”. However the American-bred four-year-old filly, who like Montejo is owned by Meah-John and trained by William-Samaroo, was only fifth in the ARC Cup and we’ll have to wait and see if the only unplaced performance of her 13-race career was because of the dirt track or the fact that it was her first attempt at a staying trip.
Youaresobad will be attempting a “distance of ground” for the first time after not being further than 1,200 metres in his five starts at Santa Rosa Park. But this Shivam Maharaj-owned two-time winner looks a star in the making and he could create some problems with the lightweight of around 48 kilos if he stays the trip. Lang Amour seems to be a trifle below this level, but the half-brother of 2010 Gold Cup winner Cactus Amour will stay every metre of the trip and could be contending for the winners’ cheque with the penny-stamp of about 46 kilos. His David Ojar-owned and trained stable companion Skyline Pigeon could be a threat with 49 kilos, but apprentice Nigel Flavenney will probably take about three kilos overweight and that will make it difficult for the only “creole” against this bunch over this far. The feature will be sandwiched between two HI-5 races – the 55-35 turf contest which has attracted 14 to do battle over 1,100 metres at 4.14 p.m.; and the 1,750-metre contest involving 13 60-40 rated horses to bring down the curtain on the card at 5.30 p.m.
There will also be HI-5 betting in the fourth race, which had attracted the most horses in for a single event in the 18 years of centralisation. The 1,100-metre turf contest is for 40 & lower rated horses and 23 – including nine reserves – have been declared to do battle at 2.56 p.m. There were no winners of the HI-5 wager in the curtain event on Labour Day and as a result almost $29,000 will be carried over into the pool for this race. The Pick 6 carry over is more than double this figure (more than $58,000) as punters have been unable to select the winner of the six designated events in the last four race days.
This week’s bet starts at 2.16 p.m. in the third race with ten set to compete in a 1,350-metre affair for 45-25 rated horses.
Post time is 1 p.m.