No walk in park
Saturday is Gold Cup Day at the Garrison Savannah, but that’s not the only race that will be drawing attention on the biggest day in racing in the Eastern Caribbean.
The lovers of speed will also get their fill of thrills, especially when reigning Tanglewood Stakes & Trophy champion Walk On By is expected to have the fight of her life when she defends her title.
The Joseph Brothers-owned filly will have to pull out all the stops if she is to repeat in this year’s edition that goes over 2 000 metres.
In five starts after her last success, Walk On By has a second-place finish behind Mingun Temple, and at her best effort will be hard-pressed to turn back the expected onslaught from the powerful Blue Diamonds operations.
Speaking of that stable, Bouncebak has been given what looks like a simple assignment of being flag bearer. The Lord Michael Taylor mare has competed against better and on paper looks like the easiest way one can increase their bank account.
After her form dwindled in the middle of last year, she was thrown out, freshened up and brought back fighting fit.
It didn’t take her long to enter the winner’s enclosure, as in her second start back she peppered her opponents in the Coolmore “Home Of Champion” Stakes & Trophy for the top-rated horses (0-140), over 1 800 metres.
If that was not enough ammunition, she was a stubborn second in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup two years ago, also over 1 800 metres.
Stablemate Don Portalsonny looks like the one that could come within striking distance and many believe he can separate the top mentioned duo.
The Anderson Ward-trained five-year-old gelding has won two of his last three starts, both at 1 570 metres, followed by a game second in the Arthur “Scooby” Breasley AM Memorial Handicap over 1 800 metres.
The extra distance would not pose a problem. Another plus here is that last year’s winning rider of this event, Darryl Holland, has been contracted to partner him.
A live outsider here will be the Diana Jones-owned Sea Gypsy who has peaked at the right time. She has won three of her last four starts including the Don Juan Handicap over 1 800 metres.
In Race 7, the Sandy Lane Spa Sprint Stakes & Trophy for three-year-olds-and-older over 1 100 metres (weight for age), the track record of 1:03.2 could be under threat.
Grand Times, owned by Averill Racing LLC, placed fifth in his last start, and was beaten less than two lengths at Gulfstream Park in January after opening up three clear lengths on the field early.
He ran the ½ in 20.2, and the ¼ in 43.2 heading for home.
The five-furlong event came back in a lightning quick 55.2 seconds, which is speed galore anywhere. Drawn on the outside and loaded with speed, he is sure to get over to the inside rail.
The others might just be in time for the lead-in.
The Gay Smith-owned Super Star, with modest form at best, has tactical speed, but might end up being the rabbit to chase the early pace, and this could put paid to his chances.
The Aysha Syndicate-owned Who’s To Say won comfortably when scoring in the Green Man Handicap for the top-rated horses over 1 100 metres. On that occasion he was handicapped
at 115 pounds, but here the burdensome weight of 132 pounds could prove his undoing.
Lord Michael Taylor-owned Purr Class and D&S
Stable-owned Anansi could be there or there about.
Should the speedsters falter, this could play into the hands of Sir David Seale-owned Preach To Me and Blue Diamond Stables-owned Peaceful Envoy, both of whom have won at this short distance on at least two occasions during the past year. This race is a must-see.