The highly anticipated Barbados Turf Club’s third season gets underway Saturday after an eight-week break.
The feature race is the 50th Anniversary of Independence Handicap going 1100 meters. This race has a small field of five entered, headed by Dazzling David, who ran a scorching second to the 4-year-old gelding Lucky Adventure in his last start on July 9 in the Crop Over Festival Handicap.
In the Crop Over Festival Handicap Dazzling David had given Lucky Adventure four pounds, having carried 117 to Lucky Adventure’s 113. Come Saturday Dazzling David will be carrying 118 pounds, receiving three pounds from the speedy Wild Cat Tea. Dazzling David has drawn gate Number 3 and will be ridden by Anderson Trotman.
The Aysha Syndicate’s Wild Cat Tea also ran second in his last start on the last day of the second season in the final handicap on September 5, going 1100 meters and just being touched off on the finish line by the now retired Giovedi. The last time Wild Cat Tea and Dazzling David met was in July in the Crop Over Festival Handicap. Dazzling David finished second and Wild Cat Tea finished fifth of six horses.
The 2013 Barbados Derby winner Knight Rider makes a return to racing after not racing for 119 days. The chestnut son of stallion Storm Arrow won his last start on June 20, 2015, in the Saleh and Khatija Mohammad Memorial Trophy going 11 furlongs. On Saturday Knight Rider will drop back to the short trip of 1100 meters and will be closing in the end as he is a staying type and does his work at the end of races. Antonio Bishop, contract jockey to Gay Smith, will ride Knight Rider and he will take the top weight of 130 pounds. Knight Rider has drawn Gate 2 in the five-horse field.
Horse number 5 Lavani from the Boston John stable, ran a disappointing sixth out of six finishers in the Final Handicap, but had ran a very nice second to top Barbados creole Sirius Black in the Harmony General Insurance Breeders Sprint on August 20 prior to that September 5 start. Rounding off the field is horse number 1, Forsaken One.
Race one, the Coat Of Arms Condition race going 1100 meters, will see five recently imported two-year-olds race for the first time and facing off against one locally bred in Fleurette. The Victor Cheeseman filly won her second start on August 20 in the King Dora Allotted Weights race by a demanding seven and a half lengths. Fleurette is the only horse in the race to have run already, and this could work to her advantage. But beating the imported horses will not be easy.
Imported two-year-old filly Felony Fire out of the Jonathan Simpson barn, has been going very well at gallops. The very attractive chestnut daughter by Tappe Shot out of the filly Takemehomeforawhirl, could be the one to upset the likely favourite Fleurette Saturday.
Discreet Lass is an imported filly of American stallion Discreet Cat and is owned by Bill Inc and trained by Victor Cheeseman. Discreet Lass will be drawn in number 6 starting gate in the six-horse field. Island Cotton from the Hopefield barn and trained by Liz Dean, is a dark bay filly by High Cotton out of the Stevengoteven mare Even Road and has been bred for the longer trips, but can spring a surprise Saturday.
Brigadier Wood, a bay colt and the double entry from Hopefield Stables, has also been bred for the longer trips from both sides of his pedigree.
Saturday will see the return of two Bajan riders who had first-time stints in Canada. Antonio Whitehall won 66 races placing second in the jockey championship at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. Jarelle Beckles will also be making a return from Winnipeg. Both will be seeking to impress.
Post time is 12.30 p.m.
My selection for the feature race is Wild Cat Tea from Dazzling David.