Gold Cup fever is high and building around the Garrison Savannah and across the island.
The Ramsey pair of Sayler’s Creek and Watchyourownbobber arrived on Friday and had a cool trot around the Garrison on Saturday morning. Sayler’s Creek, last year’s winner, knows the Garrison track and he went around the course with measured confidence. He will be ridden once again by Rico Walcott.
Watchyourownbobber was well mannered and though a stranger to the track, displayed a level of easy comfort as though he had raced at the Garrison before. Watchyourownbobber has raced at five different tracks –– Gulfstream, Churchhill Downs, Keeneland, Turfway Park and Saratoga –– so he has been in this type of situation before running at new locations. Watchyourownbobber will have Patrick Husbands in the saddle on Saturday. Husbands is a winner of four Gold Cups, tying him with Jono Jones and Venice Richards as the most successful Gold Cup jockeys.
War Envoy, owned by Coolmore Stables boss Derek Smith, arrived in Barbados today. War Envoy will be the overwhelming favourite to win the 2016 Sandy Lane Gold Cup. He won the Britannia Stakes last year at the famous Royal Ascot in the presence the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
War Envoy gave 2014 Longines world champion jockey Ryan Moore an eighth win for the meet which tied with Pat Eddery when the pair won the Brittania Stakes going a mile. War Envoy is rated 114 by Timeform but his Barbados rating will be 135 as the island’s ratings and Timeform English ratings are not the same.
War Envoy will be the highest rated horse in the race and will be ridden by American Mario Pino who has won 6,707 races and is at number 10 in the all-time winning jockeys list in the US. War Envoy will be trained by American trainer Wesley Ward, the only American trainer to win a race at Royal Ascot.
Dorsett also arrived in Barbados today. It is owned by Trinidadian Allan Madoo but will be representing Barbados. Dorsett has raced at more than five tracks around the US and went over to Canada and raced in the Woodbine mile grade 1 in 2014. He is a five-year old son of stallion Artie Shiller and is a Stakes winner, taking the Mystic Lake Derby in 2013 at Canterbury Park. Dorsett will be ridden by 2012 Gold Cup winning jockey Jalon Samuel.
Just A Fashion, a winner of 11 races from 22 starts, is the tallest horse in Barbados and will be the tallest on the track in the Gold Cup. Just A Fashion won the Coolmore Stakes at the Garrison on January 30 –– the prep race for the Gold Cup. Ironically, he won this race last year as well but did not fire in the Gold Cup. However, many think this will be his year.
The 2014 and last year’s champion trainer Victor Cheeseman is very confident of winning his first Gold Cup. Just A Fashion’s jockey Antonio Bishop won the Gold Cup in 2011 via the objection to Show Me The Money and jockey Jalon Samuel. Bishop will be looking to pass the winning pole first this time around.
Indiano Jones was imported to Barbados for last year’s Gold Cup by owner Lewin Gooding out of the famous Mark Casse stables in Canada. In last year’s Gold Cup he was unplaced. Since then he went on to win the Ansa McAl Stakes going 7.8 furlongs in near track record time.
Indiano Jones has never won going the Gold Cup distance of 9 furlongs and will be looking for his first 9 furlongs win on Gold Cup day. His jockey will be Englishman Phillip Makin who ran second in the 2011 staging of the Sandy Lane Gold Cup on Charge It. Indiano Jones’ trainer is Anderson Ward.
Dashing David is owned by Sir David Seale, a five-time winner of the Gold Cup. Dashing David ran third in the 2014 event behind winner Major Marvel. Since then he was sent to the USAwhere he had a series of races, then returned to Barbados where he had a fourth place in the Ansa McAl Stakes to Indiano Jones.
He had run down the field in the Diamonds International Stakes on Boxing Day and had not run since. He is the lowest horse in the race rated 100 but many fans think if he can reproduce his 2014 form he can be in the shake-up. His jockey will be Kyle Carter who will be looking for his first Gold Cup win after running second in 2013 on Daga.
Marcus Antonius is a stable mate of Dashing David and ran fourth in the Coolmore Stakes prep race for the Gold Cup. Many Hopefield fans think this horse will run best of the Hopefield trio since stable Jockey Anderson Trotman has chosen to stick with the big black colt. His trainer is Liz Deane, a three-time Gold Cup winning trainer.
Daunting David is the third of the Hopefield entrants and ran second in last year’s Gold Cup to Sayler’s Creek. His latest win was on Boxing Day 2015, winning over second place horse Just A Fashion. After that race he had run fifth in the Coolmore Stakes to his arch rival Just A Fashion who had turn the tables on him from Boxing Day. Daunting David will be ridden by Antonio Whitehall looking for his first Gold Cup win.
Trainer William Clarke, who is in charge of Derby Kitten, is looking for his second Gold Cup win after training 2008 winner Pure Temptation. Derby Kitten ran in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and finished 13th to winner Animal Kingdom. Since coming to Barbados he ran a much talked about fifth in the Ansa McAl Stakes in November. After that his second start in Barbados was in the Coolmore Stakes this year running sixth out of seven horses. Derby Kitten’s jockey will be Chris Husbands who is a champion jockey in western Canada and is looking for his first Gold Cup win. Owner Steve Samaroo will also be looking for a first win in the Gold Cup.
There will be much fanfare and side attractions as well as a packed racing programme on Saturday but when the dust settles on the Gold Cup, Just A Fashion, Watchyourownbobber,War Envoy and Sayler’s Creek should cross the finish in that order.