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Smullen gets top pick for challenge

Justin Marville

Smullen gets top pick for challenge

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Pat Smullen has barely been here a week but Barbados has already shown him the money.
Irish eyes are definitely smiling on Smullen as the champion jockey pulled local favourite Show Me The Money for the fifth and final of race of tomorrow’s inaugural Winters Jockeys’ Challenge at the Garrison Savannah.
It was the biggest story coming out of yesterday’s much-anticipated draw for the challenge that will pit four of Barbados’ best jockeys against counterparts from Europe in a two-team, five-race showdown highlighting the first race day of the third racing season.
A multiple flat racing champion jockey from Ireland, Smullen certainly got the luck of the draw for the Barbados Tourism Authority London Jockeys’ Challenge – the highest rated of the five challenge races tomorrow.
“I’m confident that we’ll put up a good show but it’s always a help when you draw a good horse,” a smiling Smullen said at the end of the draw at the Barbados Turf Club.
“I was just speaking to the owner [Lord Michael Taylor] and he’s excited so it’s great to pick up a live one. We walked around the track this morning and it’s a little bit unique alright but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Smullen is just one member of a four-man team including captain and six-time British champion jockey Kieren Fallon, Brit Seb Sanders and Irishman Jimmy Fortune who will be looking to unseat locals Anderson Trotman, Antonio Whitehall, Antonio Bishop and Damario Bynoe in the historic challenge.
It’s the first of a three-year initiative sponsored by Courtesy Garage and Mango Bay which will see the two teams of four riders each competing in five races over varying distances from 1100 to over 1800 metres.
Points will be awarded for the first five horses to finish each of the challenge races and the team with the highest number of points after the events will be declared the winner.
There will also be a trophy for the individual rider with the most points at the end of the challenge.
“I think this is a great idea, especially now that the season has opened back,” reasoned Trotman.
“Of course my team will be coming out to win it all but it still depends on how the races come off and also how the track is at the end of the day so we’ll hope for the best.”
Draws were also done for the two Vuemont Barbados Jockeys’ Challenge races, the Mango Bay Jockeys’ Challenge and the Hyundai Sante Fe Jockeys’ Challenge – the four other races in the challenge which will be separate and distinct from the day’s headline races, the Breeders’ Classic and the Breeders’ Stakes.