Race day review – Saturday, January 8, 2022Friday, January 14, 2022
BY WES MARTIN
Perennial top-ten, second-generation trainer Gary Subratie, as if almost on cue, confirmed his preference for having an early season search for winners to keep his owners interested. In addition to unsaddling two winners on New Year's Day, the approachable conditioner posted a three-timer and interestingly, it was in the first hour and a half of the race meeting.
Surprisingly, recent winner T Brady, ridden by 2019 champion Christopher Mamdeen for the first of his double, was only fancied to the tune of 21/1 in the 1,400-metre opening event. From a very alert start the colt raced on the heels of the front-runners down the backstretch and delivered a successful challenge for the lead entering the last 200 metres to score by just over one length for owner The Success Farm's first of two on the day.
Apprentice Andre Powell has struck a partnership with six-year-gelding Blood Fire and was aboard for the sixth time consecutively in the 1,500-metre gallop for the second event. Starting at odds of 9/5, it was a seven and a half lengths runaway for Powell to pilot his mount to now three wins from the last six starts. Remarkably, Blood Fire was only having its 18th career start and Subratie takes credit for the signal late improvement made by the New Blue bred and owned bay sired by Strikewhileitshot.
The day's third, a maiden event restricted to four year olds run over 1,400 metres, was won by 5/2 backed Itiz What Itiz (Dane Dawkins) to confirm Subratie's third and the second for The Success Farm. With three runners remaining predictions of a possible stable six-timer had some merit as KD Rocket in the 4th, Purple Wayne in the 5th and Heavenly Glitter in race eight had realistic chances and were highly fancied to win their respective events but none were good enough on the day.
News of the death of the wife of former six-time champion jockey Omar Walker was confirmed. Naturally, he was unavoidably absent and there were expressions of condolence from the fraternity. To replace Walker, two-time champion apprentice Oshane Nugent was engaged by trainer Ian Parsard to partner Crafty And Ready for the 1,000-metre round dash of race four. The improving US-bred five-year-old horse established an early marginal advantage and sprinted under pressure to score by over two lengths at odds of 3/2.
Free-scoring seven-year-old mare Mirabilis (9/2), trained by Phillip Lee, dominated rivals with a near seven-length triumph in fifth which was the opening leg of a double for in-form reinsman Robert Halledeen. Half an hour later he enjoyed another runaway with the Donovan Plummer-conditioned Vampire Rejection nearly nine lengths clear in winning the 1,400-metre sixth at odds of 9/2.
Halledeen was denied a third due the masterclass of Javaniel Patterson with a most accomplished display aboard Lawrence Freemantle's Shadowfax (8/5) in the seventh over 1,400 metres while in the 1,600-metre eighth, Jerome Innis brought the Michael Marlowe tuned Positive ID (3/1) from last but one 1,200 metres out to prevail by two and a half lengths.
In the 1,300-metre race nine, following a sustained dispute for the lead with chief rival Go Deh Girl (Tevin Foster), trained by champion Anthony Nunes, Eagle One (USA), conditioned by Jason DaCosta and ridden Phillip Parchment, escaped the finishing rush of well-fancied El Professor (Oshane Nugent) by only a neck to hold the lead claimed 150 metres from the finish safely enough to the line. Having won the first event, Mamdeen had one intervening mount in race five and had to await victory in the 1,300-metre tenth aboard 3/1 shot Special Counsel trained by Gary Griffiths to seal his double success.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Gary Subratie for Blood Fire's unusual progressive form at six years. The Best Winning Gallop was undoubtedly displayed by Shadowfax and Javaniel Patterson secures the Jockeyship Award for his tactical application almost bordering on intimidation with use of his whip left-handed to thwart the sustained challenge of Halledeen aboard Ha Gow Siu Mei from 400 metres out.