Review of race day – Saturday, September 26, 2020

Sports

Review of race day – Saturday, September 26, 2020

The day Nipster and Anthony Thomas ruled

BY WES MARTIN

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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THE 5:25 pm post time for the staging of the 94th St Leger as the 10th race was an indication the Racing Office failed to take into account that traditionally, approaching the month of October and at least until the end of January in the following year, scheduling the final post time beyond 5:00 pm, because of the earlier onset of nightfall, militates against viewing and precise commentary.

This set the stage for a fairly unpredictable outcome in this version of the season's fourth Classic.

In addition to extremely overcast conditions, there was a cloudburst of intense proportions and magnitude before the field went past the winning post for the first time. This left the track saturated for the remainder of the 10-furlong gallop.

The expected, logical outcome of a rematch between the two chief protagonists, favourite Wow Wow and his chief rival Mahogany whom he defeated by just under three lengths in his 2000 Guineas triumph late July, went awry immediately with the opening of the starting gates.

Mahogany hopped out of his starting stall, therefore he failed to come away in running stride and in addition, his pilot Omar Walker had to take evasive action approaching the Club House turn to avoid Attorney General (Aaron Chatrie). Wow Wow (Robert Halledeen) was in good position early and was second to stablemate runaway pacemaker Another Affair (Jerome Innis) on turning over on to the backstretch, while the big Mahogany ran the turn slowly and was well outpaced with seven furlongs to come.

Obviously unaware of the whereabouts of Mahogany, Halledeen's reaction to a move by King Arthur (Anthony Thomas) five furlongs out was to try to escape the field too early. Mahogany by then found his rhythm six furlongs out and challenged the now-leading Wow Wow three furlongs out but did not find the pace to overtake, settling for fourth eventually.

Genuine stayer Nipster (Linton Steadman), a 31/1 chance, ran as he did in his last race early in September. Running on strongly on the far rails he struck the front late inside the final furlong and beat Wow Wow by just over a length, with the well-ridden Oneofakind (Dane Nelson) only a half a length away in third. Michael Bernard of Michros, owners of the top two, and conditioner Subratie spoke of this as “bittersweet” as they were hoping for Triple Crown success for Wow Wow.

None of the top four, not to mention King Arthur in fifth, performed convincingly, rendering the Jamaica Derby scheduled for the end of October unsettled and therefore presenting an unclear picture even in terms of an identifiable ante-post favourite.

Owner of Nipster and trainer Subratie, having won the 2000 Guineas with Wow Wow, now has the chance of winning a stable Triple Crown – with either Wow Wow or Nipster winning two legs.

The opening event went to lightly weighted 16-1 chance Big Paul for owner/trainer Wilfred Chin and the second was won by Timetosaygoodbye (Dane Dawkins) to get trainer Ray Phillips off the mark for this year.

Title-chasing Anthony Thomas guided Dennis Pryce's Miss Elaine from an unfavourable far side draw to the favoured stand side to win by a neck.

This was a significant win for Thomas as he joined Dane Nelson on 45 wins in the third and then followed up with another outstanding ride to land the fourth on brave and consistent Sentient for trainer Gary Subratie's first of two on the day.

Imported dam's foal, Halls of Justice (Omar Walker) continued the good form of the Ian Parsard stable in winning the fifth convincingly enough at long odds-on.

In the seventh, Gregory Forsyth's Capturemyship beat rivals by nine lengths in sixth to give Thomas his third while a thrilling, unintended match unfolded in the seventh with Roy Rogers, trained by veteran Dennis Lee and ridden by Raddesh Roman, and Extruder (Orlando Foster) trained by Spencer Chung.

After leading from the start and headed at the distance, Roy Rogers rallied on the far rails to prevail by three parts of a length for Roman who rode a betting double when Richard Todd's free-scoring Superbolt won for a fifth time from the last seven starts in the afternoon's eighth.

A particularly strong late effort from early, near backmarker Bloodsweatandtears, trained by Gresford “Greasie” Smith, won him the precursor to the St Leger half an hour before the Classic drama unfolded.

THE AWARDS

The Training Feat Award is presented to Gary Subratie for the improvement of Nipster while the colt, in turning in a flawless display of speed, stamina and courage, lifts the Best Winning Gallop accolade. Linton Steadman, in a repeat of his first Classic success which came in this event when he rode Bigdaddykool to victory in 2016, scores the the Jockeyship Award – fitting recognition of his confidence and excellent judgment of pace.


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