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Looking ahead to Derby day


Looking ahead to Derby day

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WINNING a Derby is one of the most special triumphs for the connections of a champion thoroughbred. United Barbados Derby day presents the many stakeholders with the chance to star today.Trainers Naz Issa, Melrose and Clifton Racing hold the strongest hand, and are in pole position to cap what can only be described as an amazing year with the cream of the crop under their charge.Few would be bold enough, to bet against these connections capturing the third jewel of the Barbados Triple Crown, as they fire two sharp arrows in Leave It To Me, and Amanyara, to burst the bubbles of all comers.Issa saddles the hot favourites in Leave It To Me and Amanyara in this 2 000 metre event. Leave It To Me enters the race with an impressive five wins from eight career starts, with  victories in the Hallway Feeds Midsummer Creole Classic over 1 800 metres, along with the  Barbados Fillies Guineas, and the Guardian General Breeders’ Stake and Trophy, both over 1 570 metres. This is a filly at the top of her game, and the only concern will be her draw, as in the past when drawn wide, she has had to play second fiddle to stable mate Amanyara.The other half of this remarkable Issa combination is Amayara, and many pundits will not even bother to look elsewhere for the winner. Amanyara, with a record of three wins from 11 starts, was very impressive when making all the running in the Michael Parravachino Memorial Hopeful Breeders’ Stakes and Trophy and was and no less smart in the Caribbean Money Market Barbados Guineas, each time over 1 570 metres.There is the concern of her stamina, with many experts believing she might not see out this maximum trip. However having witnessed all her races, it is not a concern shared by this expert. Blessed with a high cruising speed, and a favourable draw, a great run is expected.Dance the Distances is another Issa entrant, and though not in the same class as the aforementioned two, can play a part if only for the good of the stable.Stanton French-owned Local Speed would not have been considered a serious contender prior to a gutsy third place finish in the Midsummer Creole Classic. On that performance he has claims, and the jockey assignment proves he is in the race for more than just the run.Mrs Diana Jones-owned Sea Gypsy has threatened on numerous occasions, only to disappoint, and will need to be a completely different horse to stand any chance. Up The Ante is another that has campaigned without much success, but his pedigree suggests he could appreciate the longer trip, though the derby may have come too soon.The powerful Lord Michael Taylor connections will be represented by a three prong attack. This stable’s best chance rests with in-form Rush Cutter, who boasts a record of six wins from 11 starts. However, punters might want to note that all those wins are from sprint events, and stamina will definitely be a question mark for this colt.Captain Sully has performed creditably against much softer opposition, and on every occasion has found the top three-year-olds too much to handle, while Island Lad’s form should rule him out of contention.Aysha Syndicate’s Gone Prospecting won the Kate O’Connor handicap going 1 570 metres, but the step up in class in the Midsummer Creole Classic was too stiff a test, and he was found wanting.The field will be completed by Between The Sheiks and Calypso Queen, with both having lots to find on form, and to get on the board. With a great race awaiting, all that is needed to complete the spectacle is a great and appreciative crowd.