by David Morris
The buzz has already began.
Which of the 11 horses and jockeys will cross the finish-line first tomorrow in the 33rd running of the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup?
Racing fans who trek to the Garrison Savannah can be assured of one indisputable fact in this lucrative race with $214 000, along with the Gold Cup, at stake. Whoever wins will be a deserving victor.
Every owner or other person involved in this grand event leaves no stone unturned and sets out to win. No mediocre, or out-of-form horse takes away the loot. Similarly, inexperienced or poor jockeys without class or significant potential do not get that opportunity to return to the parade ring after the race.
In addition no horse can be an out and out sprinter with tremendous early speed alone, and win. This is simply because when it gets over the hill and the pressure is turned on, that horse would be only looking to get back in its stable and have a good night’s rest.
Alternatively, one cannot be a good stayer only, because when the main bunch reach the Drill Hall and begin to quicken, that stayer would be keeping company with the ambulance personnel.
So what does one need to be the conqueror?
One must have a good level-headed and experienced Jockey, who is not engulfed in the euphoria and has the capacity to strategies and assess the race and his opponents from the time the gates fly. He must also know his horse and should from early be clear of its potential and capabilities, and indeed its weaknesses and dislikes.
As to the horse, it should be one which breaks with the pack, has some ability to be in a striking position when they are about two furlongs from home and most importantly, has something left in the tank when “ there are no more turns.”
Sterwins victory in 2010 went against the grain. But that was an exception, because Sterwins was an exceptional horse. So with tomorrow’s starters, who fits and does not fit the bill?
Starting with Aristodemus, this temperamental horse had an unfortunate injury last year and obviously questions are being asked as to if he has fully recovered. Examination of his last two races should provide some answers. The penultimate one was going nine furlongs. He completed the race and from all indications appeared to be sound.
His final race was a sprint and this seemingly was to shake him up and get him focused for the big day. He disappointed in both and at no time looked threatening in either.
And what about stablemate Dashing David? In his resumé is a record of three wins but his stats are not anything to be excited about. At recent exercise when urged by both Paul Jones and Reshawn Latchman on seperate occasions to quicken, he has not responded as how classy horses do. Consequently it is difficult to see either of the two Sir David Seale horses being being a factor this year.
Following some extensive research done on Major Marvel, he must be at the top of the class. To start with he likes to go with them early, and then has tremendous finishing speed. He is also a seasoned eight-year-old gelding, that has raced on turf on numerous race tracks (reportedly to be seventeen) in North America and won many races going the mile.
He also has the added advantage of having local hero Patrick Husbands in the irons, and Husbands has indicated he will be pulling out all the stops for the Gold Cup. If Husbands wins it would be his fourth Gold Cup victory and he would be the joint leading victor along with Venice Richards and Johnno Jones.
Heir apparent to the Apostle is Areutalkintome. This colt will certainly be carrying the best wishes of local fans. One can guarantee that when they are sent on their way, the blue and yellow colours of the Joseph connection will remain clean for the better part of the race. And this brave animal has a lot of heart. With Rico Walcott in the saddle – a noted front-running jockey – neither will give up until the finish line has been crossed.
Without doubt Shared Adventure is also a good horse. And one can anticipate a good performance from him. However jockey Kenny John must be very careful in going after Areutalkintome as his ability to comfortably get nine in good company has not been proven. However he is a horse with a good fighting spirit.
His connections will certainly be praying that the rain gods ramble in trying to find the Garrison Savannah, since it is clear that he does not relish soft conditions.
Anyone who watched the video of Nominee defeating Big Man In Town had to be impressed. He too is good. But how he responds to local conditions will be up in the air.
Derby winner Knight Rider is one for the future. However presently he cannot be considered “hard enough” for this company. And when the pressure is turned on going for home Antonio Bishop will find it is too much to ask of this four-year-old.
A fit Daga getting a gem of a ride from Kyle Carter can upset the big ones. However the Andy Ward-trained animal has to be up with them from early because there are some good speedsters in this race. If he cannot break well and remain in a striking position two furlongs out – just like Knight Rider– he will find too many going better than him at the finish.
Indian Officer is out of its depth in this race. Its stablemateDiscreetwoncould be a factor in the end. Jockey Jalon Samuel must also get this five-year-old bay horse interested in the race early, since on his day this son of Discreet Cat andEmpress of Indiahas tremendous finishing speed.
The final horse under consideration is the big greyJakesam. Antonio Whitehall will have the leg up on this animal. Its success will certainly depend on the tactics adopted. While speaking to its trainer earlier, he indicated thatlikes to go front. But with the abundance of early speed in this race, a different approach must be adopted if he is to get in the money.
And after the rhetoric, who is the favoured horse?
Firstly, be mindful that this is a horse race and with a little luck and some exceptional performance from either jockey or horse, anyone can win. However, and Areutalkintome, Shared Adventure, Major Marvel, in any order, are my preferred picks to bring joy to their connections and betting fans.
Prize money for the winner is $120 000, second place is $45 000, third place is $25 000, fourth place is $15 000, fifth place is $5 000 and sixth place is $4 000. There are subscriptions and the entrants fee is $3 000.