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Opening day of thrills

Lindon Yarde

Opening day of thrills

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The opening day?of the Barbados Turf Club’s first racing season of the year got off to a smooth start last Saturday at the Garrison Savannah. Racing enthusiasts who attended the event, which was sponsored by Diamonds International, witnessed no fewer than five thrilling finishes.
This action unfolded as early as the second race – the Diamonds International/Tanzanite Handicap for horses rated 27-50 over 1 570 metres. After a gruelling battle in the home stretch between Proud Bajan, favourite Jamaica Moon and Wingman, the Sir David Seale-owned Proud Bajan, which was superbly ridden by Anderson Trotman, won by a head.
In the following Diamonds International/Forevermark Handicap for horses rated 55-75 going 1 570 metres, fans had to wait for the result of a photo-finish to separate Sir Charles Williams’ Open Secret with Antonio Whitehall aboard and Majestical, partnered by Antonio Bishop.
The final analysis revealed that Open Secret got up by a short head. This victory also saw apprentice Whitehall cross over to become a fully-fledged jockey.
To many on paper the afternoon’s feature – Diamonds International/Crown of Light Sprint Stakes and Trophy condition race – looked tailor-made for odds-on favourite The Price Is Right. However, there is no such thing as a sure winner and Khartoum ridden by Anderson Trotman caused an upset.
It was a thrilling finish to the main event which saw the top three horses being separated by a short head and a neck.
Race 5 – The Diamonds International/Safi Kalima Handicap for horses rated 22-45 over 1 100 metres – will long be remembered by apprentice jockey Jarell Beckles. Astride The A Team-owned Indian Soul, he produced a gem of a ride to catch race favourite Whatadeal.
It was the 15-year-year-old Parkinson School student’s first career win, landing at the hefty odds of 39-1 for trainer Richard Deane. Although not as close as the other four races, the Diamonds International/Hublot Crown of Light Handicap for horses rated 80-100 over 1 800 metres was equally exciting.
Cinnamon Jane, under Trotman, held off Lady Quill ridden by Whitehall in a driving finish which brought great joy to the face of champion trainer Andrew Nunes, who is responsible for both horses.
This day also saw Kenny John joining Trotman as the only jockeys to record double victories. John started the day triumphantly in the Diamonds International/Gift condition race. He smoothly piloted home the Fiona Kinch-owned and Roger Parravicino-trained first time starter Alina in this event for West Indian-bred three-year-old maidens over 1 100 metres.
John, who has enjoyed a formidable partnership since last year with trainer Nunes wrapped up the day’s proceedings with a come-from-behind victory astride Azkaban in the Diamonds International/Sara G Handicap, a maiden event over 1 570 metres.
After recording his maiden victory last race day astride Chatter Box, apprentice Demario Bynoe also skillfully guided the Mr Brain-owned, Naz Issa trained Between The Sheiks to victory in the Diamonds International/Vene D’Amore Handicap for horses rated 42-65 over 1 100 metres.