A happy owner Ken Ramsey celebrating his top two positions in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup with jockeys Jalon Samuel (right), who rode the winner Sir Dudley Digges, and Rafael Hernandez, who piloted Shining Copper to second place. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
The atmosphere at the historic Garrison Savannah was electrifying on Saturday and when the 37th running of the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup was over, patrons all had plenty to talk about.
Jockey Jalon Samuel not only won the prestigious Gold Cup race on Sir Dudley Digges, but his four wins on Gold Cup Day is also a record for any jockey on the Caribbean’s biggest race day.
Apart from Sir Dudley Digges, Samuel triumphed on Northern Star in the Tanglewood Stakes and Trophy while he landed Celestial Storm in the Sandy Lane Spa Sprint and Brave Star in the Villa At Sandy Lane Trophy.
The biggest party in Barbados horse racing was witnessed by thousands of fans. Many came for the food and drinks, but in the end it was the race that captured all.
With the surroundings heavily branded in the pink colours of sponsor Sandy Lane Hotel, Samuel, a darling with the crowd, especially the youth, took centre stage.
There can be no doubt about his talent, and while one can say he definitely has got his craft mastered, at least in Barbados, he needs to excel in greener pastures.
At 24 years old, Samuel savours a huge appetite for the big occasions which has always seen him doing well on Gold Cup days.
From as far back as 2011, he won at least two of the day’s three features. He started with Bouncebak in the Tanglewood Stakes and Show Me The Money, which was disqualified after winning the Gold Cup.
The next year, Samuel sped to victory with Areutalkintome in the Spa Sprint before piloting Dancin David home for Gold.
In 2016, he repeated that order of the Spa and Gold Cup double when partnering Iamsogroovy and Dorsett. While Dorsett ensured Samuel would be on a Gold Cup hat-trick this year, he traded the Spa Sprint and won the Tanglewood with Northern Star.
After he won the Gold Cup with Sir Dudley Digges his emotions overcame him prior to the leading-in. His fans revelled in his jubilation as he again stamped his authority on another big day.
As he prepares to head abroad he must now get serious and buckle down to stay the distance. The racing world is his to conquer.
There is nothing much left to win at the Garrison Savannah apart from the Derby and Samuel will certainly be one day looking forward to putting on another exhibition on the Savannah for his loyal supporters under lights.
The spectacle of riding under lights is nothing new to Samuel, as he has ridden at Charlestown in West Virginia.
News of Government’s permission for the installation of floodlights at the Garrison Savannah was announced by Barbados Turf Club president Sir David Seale before the start of the Gold Cup race. (LY)