Jalon Samuel aboard Gandalf celebrating their victory in the winner’s enclosure with connections and supporters. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
You can always bet that ace local jockey Jalon Samuel will show up on the big day when it matters.
You can also bet that he knows which horse to choose when they are from the same stable.
Both factors came into play at the Garrison Savannah on Saturday and he was proved right again.
In the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, it was either the most favoured Shining Copper or Sir Dudley Digges from the Ramsey stable. He chose the latter which he steered to victory for his fourth triumph in the Caribbean’s most prestigious horse race.
In Saturday’s Barbados Guineas, the stablemates were Brave Star and Gandalf. He picked eventual winner Gandalf. Samuel’s intuition in these matters can only be rated as first class.
Why did he choose Gandalf when he had won with Brave Star before?
“Gandalf has better all-round qualities. He is a more tactical horse and that’s a hard combination to beat. Once we stayed out of trouble I knew he could win. He is a very speedy horse and he combines that with stamina,” said Samuel, who was notching his third Guineas victory.
Can Gandalf complete the Triple Crown for three year-olds?
“Of course, he can. There isn’t much standing in his way. He is a good horse,” Samuel concluded.
Victor Cheeseman is rated as one of the island’s top trainers and he was able to reinforce that point again as the man in charge of the preparation of Gandalf and second-placed Brave Star.
He likes them both but explained why he thought Gandalf may have had the edge in the Guineas.
“No surprise to me. He is a very good horse, a front-runner. That’s hard to beat. Brave Star is also good but he had a bit of a virus recently, so considering this he did well. There’s not a big difference between the two, but you can say the better one won on the day.”
When asked if Gandalf can win the Triple Crown, Cheeseman was diplomatic: “All things are possible.”
With the one-two placing, owners George Elias and Peter Aimey had no complaints and were in the best position, not having to choose between the two.
The ebuillient Aimey said: “I had Gandalf before Brave Star so I know what he is capable of. He is a front-runner with lots of agility and that makes him hard to beat. He can win the Triple Crown.
“We are extremely satisfied with the outcome. It’s all in the family. Either way would have been pleasing, so we are very thankful for the result. It was a good job done by all concerned,” Aimey said with a big smile beaming from his face.
Bet you didn’t know, though, that Gandalf’s triumph was a fitting end to Samuel’s local season as he heads off to Woodbine in Canada this week.
“Yes, I am going up to ride for the Ramseys and other people. I don’t think I will be back before next year’s Gold Cup.”
Kenneth Ramsey, who recently shifted several of his racing stock to Canada, had promised the local reinsman mounts in Canada after his spectacular win in the Gold Cup. (AT)