|Race Day Preview Day 33 Saturday 15th September 2012|
ARIMA RACE CLUB
BIG GUNS SQUARE OFF IN SATURDAY’S (15/09/12) FEATURE RACE
There is something special about Saturday’s feature race. Although it is not a Graded event with tons of prize-money it no doubt can be considered as one of the best races of the season at Santa Rosa Park, after all, there is the presence of President’s Cup (GR.II) winner STRIKES NOT SPARES as well as JUST CALL ME ROGER, who was triumphant in both the Eric “Colt” Durant Memorial (GR.II) and the Independence Cup (GR.I). And let’s not forget last year’s Champion Imported Stayer, BOOGIE BLUES, SILVERLEO and the ultra-consistent creole GALVESTON, last year’s Champion 3-year-old. This 1,750-metre affair will be the penultimate event of an eight-race card and eight have been declared to go to post at 4.45PM. After his battling victory in the Grade II President’s Cup at surprisingly massive odds last time out on July 21, STRIKES NOT SPARES must be the horse to beat, but it is certainly not a done deal with the likes of JUST CALL ME ROGER, GALVESTON and the light-weights SILVERLEO and LANG AMOUR involved.
JUST CALL ME ROGER is certainly a better horse on the turf and he has certainly backed up this assumption by winning the last two big races on the lawn – the Durant Memorial (GR.II) on June 9 and the Independence Cup (GRI) on August 31, however, the American-bred five-year-old did win a 1,750-metre contest on the main course by ten lengths last season and is in better form now than he was then. It should also be noted that JUST CALL ME ROGER finished ahead of STRIKES NOT SPARES when they last clashed and were third and sixth over Saturday’s trip in a contest for horses rated 90 & over, however fans of STRIKES NOT SPARES would be quick to point out that he lost about five lengths because of a tardy start in that June 30 contest and finished less than a length behind JUST CALL ME ROGER.nAlthough he was sent off at odds of over 50/1 in the President’s Cup (GR.II), STRIKES NOT SPARES was certainly not considered an outsider by experts after he had gone down by a short-head against MONTEJO in the Arima Race Club Cup (GR.II) at the end of February.
These two Grade II affairs are the leading open staying events staged on the main track thus far this season, and only play second fiddle to the Grade I Gold Cup– on Boxing Day (December 26) – on the local calendar. LANG AMOUR was also involved when STRIKES NOT SPARES and JUST CALL ME ROGER last squared off and he finished just half-length behind JUST CALL ME ROGER in fourth that day. David Ojar has to be confident that his American-bred four-year-old could turn the tables as he was receiving ten kilos last time and will now be getting 12.5 from ‘ROGER’ on this occasion. Further LANG AMOUR was far from disgraced when he finished less than eight lengths behind JUST CALL ME ROGER at level weights when he made his turf debut on Independence Day. Anyone planning to support LANG AMOUR on Saturday will have to give SILVERLEO an outstanding chance as he beat his fellow American-bred four-year-old by over eight lengths on August 18 in receipt of 1.5 kilos and will be about four kilos heavier of the two on this occasion.
It should also be noted that when SILVERLEO defeated the 90-70 rated horses over Saturday’s trip last month, the John O’Brien-trained chestnut was coming off a layoff of almost four months to attempt the Santa Rosa dirt for the first time. GALVESTON is the toughest to assess in this field as he has very little experience against any of his opponents. The only locally-bred horse in the race came up against the top class for the very first time in the Independence Cup (GR.I) and finished a respectable fourth on his long-awaited debut on the grass track. GALVESTON had been just awesome in his rise up the ranks before, winning his last four and six of his last nine starts, and Shivam Maharaj’s son of A Great Team had finished second in his other three, including last year’s Midsummer Classic (GR.IR) and Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR.IR). The only member of Saturday’s field that GALVESTON has faced on the dirt is LANG AMOUR, but considering the fact that he thrashed the imported horse by over 14 lengths on April 9, GALVESTON has to be a major contender here.
Of course the margin between the two is expected to be considerably less as LANG AMOUR was 2.5 kilos heavier on Easter Monday, but should receive about eight kilos this time. After finishing close up in his first two starts this season, BOOGIE BLUES was well beaten in the President’s Cup (GR.II) and Independence Cup (GR.I) and it seems unlikely that the 1,750-metre track record holder could start his revival here as he carries the top weight of 58 kilos and has to give out between one and 13.5 kilos to his rivals. ESQUIRE beat the 85-65 horses over 1,750-metres last time out, but this is a very tough task for the Jamaican-bred six-year-old with about 50 kilos in his saddle bags, whilst SAM’S HERO is also not expected to be a contender as the Jamaican-bred who finished in the top three in all three legs of the 2010 Triple Crown will also have to take about five kilos overweight. Two races earlier, the 90-70 rated horses will line up over 1,300 metres, and the field of nine also includes a horse which finished on the board in all three legs of the 2010 Triple Crown, GO FOR THE GOLD. B’S PASSION, last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Creole Filly, LOAN SHARK, the third-placed finisher in last year’s Easter Guineas (GR.IR), and consistent American-bred horses GOLDEN DIXIELAND and OFFICER IKE are also involved in this 3.30PM contest.
Pick 6 wagering begins at 2.15PM in the third race, the 1,200-metre contest for 55-35 rated horses and there will be HI-5 betting in the fourth (2.53PM), sixth (4.08PM ) and the eighth (5.23pm) events. Punters were unsuccessful in the HI-5 wager on the final race last Saturday and as a result, almost $29,000 will be carried over into the pool of the fourth race. A massive field of 20 horses, rated 45 & lower, has been declared for the 1,600-metre contest on the turf. The Pick 3 will comprise races 2, 3 and 4 and the Pick 4, with a guaranteed pool of $5,000.00 will be the last four races on the programme.
Post time for the 33rd round of the Arima Race Club’s 2012 Season is 1:00PM.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 17 September 2012 16:49 )|