|Race Day Review Day 23 Saturday 30th June 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
Stylish return by Montejo
MONTEJO came back in style when horse racing continued at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. Racing for the first time in just over four months, the American-bred five-year-old defeated a strong bunch of 90 & over rated horses by 1 ½ lengths in the main bout of an eight-race card. After the lengthy period of inactivity and the fact that he was giving dangerous rivals between three and 13.5 kilos, Montejo was expected to have to have to work extremely hard, but he ended up winning the day’s penultimate event fairly comfortably. The 6/5 favourite received significant assistance right off the bat when Strikes Not Spares came out of the gates sluggishly and ended up finishing sixth of the seven runners. Still, the Christopher James-owned chestnut was only beaten by around three lengths, about the same distance he had given away at the start. In Montejo’s previous start he had nosed out Strikes Not Spares to win the Arima Race Club Cup in late February and many of the “experts” expected a reversal in the order of finish as the American-bred four-year-old was getting 2.5 kilos more than he had received in that Grade II 1,800-metre contest. Shawn Samuel, who had scored his 20th career triumph earlier in the day to become a two-kilo claimer, positioned the winner right behind early leaders Just Call Me Roger and Skyline Pigeon and kept him there until the far turn.
Mobthewarrior was also starting to look dangerous at this stage, but when Montejo took the lead so effortlessly, he was left flat-footed and ended up running on in the closing stages to secure the runner-up spot as five horses were separated by just over a length. Just Call Me Roger, who had won the $150,000 Eric “Colt” Durant on the turf last time out three weeks earlier, never really faded after being passed by Montejo and finished only ¾-length adrift to be a game third on his second choice surface. And racing with the penny-stamp of 43 kilos, Lang Amour finished strongly for fourth, just half-length behind and a neck in front of Youaresobad. This very promising American-bred four-year-old was travelling further than 1,200 metres for the very first time and probably would not have lost his place on the board had he not encounter traffic problems in deep stretch. Strikes Not Spares finished another neck back and Skyline Pigeon, the only “creole” in the race, trailed the field, another 15 length back. Montejo, who had just failed by a rapidly-diminishing head to catch Boogie Blues in the most prestigious open staying race on the local calendar (Gold Cup) on Boxing Day (December 26), was scoring for the seventh time in 15 career starts. And since the victory was worth $43,500 to owner Zanim Meah-John, the son of Petionville passed $500,000 in career earnings. Meah-John, his trainer Jose William-Samaroo and Samuel had also been in the winners’ enclosure in the second event when Sattriya, also sent off as the favourite, wore down D’Last Flight en route to victory by a length in the 1,100-metre turf contest for 70-50 rated horses.
This triumph is one that Samuel, the day’s most successful rider, is not likely to forget in a hurry as it marked the first milestone in his career. Of course, after his success aboard Montejo, he now needs 19 more wins to become a one-kilo claimer and then a further 20 to graduate as a full-fledged jockey. Brian Boodramsingh, who not only went through that process last year but was also crowned champion jockey of the season, maintained his significant lead in the standings when he booted home Oro De Cordoba in the day’s sixth event. The youngster, who was the champion apprentice of 2010, was scoring for the 25th time of the season and has twice the amount of winners (25) secured by the second-placed Brian Harding. And it was a case of FINALLY! for Oro De Cordoba, who had never won on the grass before but had finished second in eight of her 13 attempts, including four of her last five and her last three. The Patrick Da Sila-bred and owned chestnut did it in style as she powered to a five-length victory over her 55-35 rated rivals. Oro De Cordoba’s record on the main track is not that bad either as the John Leotaud-trained four-year-old has a win, a third and two seconds from eight starts.
Samuel was the only rider to score more than once for the day, but William-Samaroo had company in the training department as Terrance Thomas also saddled a double. The lanky handler, who shot into prominence when Back On Top won the ’10 Trinidad Derby, was successful in back-to-back races with Fearghas and Mary’s Girl Chile. The latter, ridden by youngster Dillon Khelawan for champion owner Shivam Maharaj, came “at the death” to deny Flight On Time by a short-head in the day’s fourth event, the 1,100-metre turf contest for 40 & lower rated horses. Just before, Fearghas, with Sheldon Rodrigo in the irons, had slammed a bunch of 45-25 rated horses by 4 ¾ lengths over 1,350 metres. The 13/1 shot and D’Coachman, who took the curtain event at odds of 16/1, were mainly responsible for stumping punters in the Pick 6 and the carry-over pool on Saturday will be over $80,000 after the puzzle has not been solved in the last five race days. D’Coachman, who had never raced against older horses of over two turns before, just got up by ¾-length to deny 30/1 shot Gold Bead in the 1,750-metre affair for 60-40 rated horses. And with grey horses Ten Powers, Sweetie Jan and Super Grey rounding out the top five, respectively, no one had the winning HI-5 ticket and over $35,000 will be carried over into one of the HI-5 races when racing continues at Santa Rosa Park on Saturday.
The feature attraction on the 24th round of the Arima Race Club’s 2012 Season will be the Grade II Gleneagle Stakes for West Indian-bred three-year-old fillies over a distance of 1,750 metres. The field could include St Ann’s Stakes heroine The Big Squeeze, who finished third in the Midsummer Classic at massive odds last time out on Indian Arrival Day (May 30), and It Got To Be Me, runner-up in the Santa Rosa Classic, Royal Colours Classic and Ibis Stakes.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 July 2012 18:06 )|