Hold your horses!
THE 2011 Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, struck by controversy at the start of the week, culminated in similar fashion at the Garrison Savannah yesterday with the disqualification of the winner for the first time in the 30-year history of the prestigious event.
Lord Michael Taylor-owned Show Me The Money, ridden by champion jockey Jalon Samuel, flashed past the post a comfortable winner but the jubilation in the Blue Diamond Stables camp was short-lived.
Tears of joy soon turned to tears of sorrow when the results were amended after a steward’s enquiry was held following an objection lodged by the connections of second-last placed finisher Apostle, alleging interference in the stretch run.
After reviewing the tape and hearing evidence, stewards amended the results.
Show Me The Money was disqualified and placed 11th – just after Apostle – and jockey Samuel was fined for careless riding.
Apostle sprinted to the lead after the start and set his usual blistering pace. Show Me The Money tracked in second followed by Zoom, Bird Watch and Grand Cash to form the leading pack.
The others, including Bad Action and Emerald Crescent, were well off the pace.
Approaching the three-furlong pole, Samuel took closer order of Show Me The Money, while Charge It, Bird Watch and Grand Cash were ridden to stay in contention.
Apostle and Show Me The Money brought the field into the home stretch; Show Me The Money got the better of the exchanges and would go on for the victory.
Apostle pulled up at this stage and Zoom stayed on to finish second, with Bird Watch finishing third and Charge It fourth.
With the amended results, Zoom, ridden by Antonio Bishop, was declared the winner, Bird Watch ridden by Paul Leacock, second, and Charge It third under Philip Makin, with John Brian promoted to fourth with Darryl Holland in the stirrups.
“My boys have worked very hard. I owe it to my boys – the jockey, exercise riders, everybody,” said winning trainer Edward Walcott Jr.
“It was a team effort and I am very appreciative. My horses train on the farm and it is a little hard to judge them, but at the end of the day, whatever we do, we try to do it to the best of our ability.”
A beaming Gay Smith, the successful owner, told SUNSPORT: “I’m just thrilled; it’s not the way you want to win but . . . .”
Though not first past the post, as fate would have it the Gold Cup will stay at Sandy Lane as Zoom’s owners are part owners of the hotel.
She added, “The horse is a gem and it’s a dream come true. To win the race with a home-bred horse is perfect.”
Successful jockey Antonio Bishop described the moment as an honour despite the circumstances.
“Honestly, I wanted to win without going to the steward’s room, but a win is a win. It’s my second Gold Cup ride and first win. It’s an honour,” he said.
“Zoom has been good to me; he gave me my first career win – Tanglewood – and now the Gold Cup.”
Bishop also thanked trainer Edward Walcott Jr for guiding him in the right direction.
Thousands of spectators, including legendary jockey Lester Piggott, were on hand for the day’s action.