The top creole of 2017 Northern Star and the leading import of 2017 Infrared will do battle for the first time in the Coolmore Home Of Champion Stakes going 1800 metres or nine furlongs for the top rated horses tomorrow.
A race that was to run off on January 21 but was rescheduled to tomorrow will see the much talked about clash between these two top class equines. Northern Star and Infrared will headline a field of four animals and will share the top weight of 128 pounds.
The Coolmore race which has a purse of $30 000 will see 2016 horse of the year Northern Star going after seven wins in a row having won six out of seven races last year. The smart chestnut had lost his first start of 2017 on January 2 in the New Year Trophy placing third behind winner Ninepointsixnine and Princess Tiana going 2000 meters or 10 furlongs. Since that race, Northern Star has won six races in a row and if he wins the Coolmore will equal triple crown winner Areutalkintome who won seven races in a row in 2009 and is the most recent horse to have the longest winning streak.
The horse that has the longest winning streak in Barbados’ history on record is Sir John Chandler’s colt Dilemma which won eight races in succession in 1972.
Northern Star won going the nine furlongs twice last year when he won the Pavilion Court Handicap on April 1 defeating Spartacus and Donicodidit carrying the top weight of 126 pounds in that encounter, two less than he will carry in the Coolmore Home Of Champion Stakes. His other nine furlongs victory came on November 25 in the Super Lotto Breeders Classic defeating Stolen and Spartacus taking the top weight of 128 pounds, the same weight he will carry on Saturday.
Northern Star had faced the top rated horses on one occasion when winning The Saleh And Khatija Mohamed Memorial Handicap on July 5 going 2000 meters or 10 furlongs. In that gem of a race, he defeated Dorsett, Stolen,Daunting David, Ninepointsixnine and Inwon in that order of the six-horse field.
The Richard Deane-trained five-year-old chestnut Infrared who was the leading imported three-year-old of 2016 and won the most races among the top class in 2017 is still looking for his first grade 1 win which could come in the Coolmore 2018. He had run fourth in last year’s Coolmore Stakes and then unplaced in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup 2017, both grade 1 events going tomorrow’s nine-furlong trip. Despite not winning a grade 1 event, the majority of Infrared’s wins came over the nine-furlong trip having won three nine-furlong races out of his four starts last year.
Infrared, an imported son of the USA grade 1 King Bishop Stakes winner Discreetly Mine, had won five races last year but was disqualified once on January 14 in the five-furlong sprint the Condominiums At Palm Beach Handicap. Infrared’s nine-furlong victory came in the Leave It To Me Handicap on May 27, winning as he pleased by eight lengths from Janak’s Gold taking the light weight of 114 pounds. He then returned to that trip on August 26 winning the final Handicap by three and a half lengths over Janak’s Gold again, this time taking the second top weight of 126 pounds.
The Daniel and Martin Riazman’s long-distance runner’s last win of 2017 came on November 11 going nine furlongs again in the 51st Anniversary Handicap taking the top weight of 128 pounds and winning by one and three-quarter lengths from 2013 Barbados Derby winner Knight Rider with double Sandy Lane Gold Cup winner Dorsett finishing fifth in that race taking the light stamp of 118 pounds, receiving 11 pounds from Infrared on that day with apprentice rider Delano Lopez. Infrared has drawn gate 3 and has Just A fashion and Northern star in gate 1 and 2 respectively.
Dorsett had silenced his critics when he won on Boxing Day in the Diamonds International\Crown Of Light Stakes going 1570 meters. The attractive eight-year-old horse had broken the chatter of him not winning a race other than the two Gold Cups since coming to Barbados. Dorsett finished like an absolute train to catch double Coolmore Home Of Champions Stakes winner Just A fashion and Infrared in dramatic style. Disappointingly, Dorsett has been withdrawn from tomorrow’s field.
Just A fashion comes into the Sandy Lane Gold Cup prep race with history to be made. If the tall chestnut wins he will become the first horse to win this race three times. His connections had skipped the Coolmore last year robbing him of a chance of a hat-trick. However, his lone nine-furlong win has come in the Coolmore and this could be an interesting factor. Feet On Flames and Apostle are the only other horses that have won the Coolmore twice. Just A Fashion has never faced his stablemate Northern Star and sets up for an exciting clash.
Horse number 5 Marcus Antonius from the Sir David Seale Hopefield stable was very unlucky on Boxing Day when his jockey Rashawn Latchman fell going around the paddock bend, then to stand and watch Dorsett run away with the victory. The dark bay USA imported gelding of Roman Ruler had five starts last year scoring in one when he defeated stablemate Daunting David going the short trip of 1570 on February 11 in the Grandstand Posse Blue Sails Handicap. The Liz Deane-trained runner had placed third in the 2015 Coolmore and will add spice to this exciting field.
Post time for the Coolmore Stakes is 4:45 p.m. My selection for the Coolmore is Northern Star, Infrared, Just A Fashion, Marcus Antonius.