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Jockeying for position

Lindon Yarde

Jockeying for position

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Thousands of Barbadians and visitors are expected to converge on the historic Garrison Savannah on Saturday for a day of racing which promises to be one like none other.

Traditionally around this time, the Savannah is renowned for this country’s Independence Day Parade but there will be three separate events taking place from which spectators can make their choice. However, the main event will be the second edition of the Barbados Winter Jockey Challenge.

Organiser of the Challenge, Englishman Jeff Laughton, who is in Barbados and is also responsible for soliciting the top-class teams to represent Italy, Ireland and Great Britain, believes this year’s event will be even bigger.

“Last year was an amazing success to the point where everyone is keen to have it done again for the next few years,” Laughton told MIDWEEK SPORT.

Five of the riders are scheduled to arrive in Barbados via British Airways, tomorrow just after 3 p.m., while last year’s challenge captain Kieren Fallon will arrive here on Friday straight out of California.

“Our desire is to make this year bigger and better and in time to rival the atmosphere of the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup Day. That’s my reasoning for bringing six of Europe’s leading riders. It’s fair to say we could not have gotten a much stronger line-up. All the boys can’t wait to get out here,” Laughton said.

Laughton also conveyed the sentiment of this year’s captain, Italian Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori.

“It has been quite a while since he has been to Barbados, where the people are warm and very friendly so he can’t wait to return. Frankie was made aware of last year’s results where the local jockeys kicked our backside in the Challenge 99 to 59 points.

Then came a warning: “Let me assure you all, we are not coming all this way to finish second, so let’s get it on!”

Late last month, Frankie demonstrated his popular flying dismount after capturing the US $1 000 000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf aboard Hootenanny at Santa Anita Park.

Teammate Kieren Fallon failed to win a Breeders Cup this year, but last Wednesday, also at the above mentioned track, he lit up the tote board, winning with 46/1 long shot Notorious.

Compatriot and soon to be retired reinsman Jamie Spencer was not to be left out of the Breeders Cup action.

Many fans consider him to be very unlucky not to have won the stewards verdict after finishing second by a short head aboard American bred Toast Of New York, who represented Britain in the US$5 000 000 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Thomas Queally, Seb Saunders and Jimmy Fortune make up the remainder of the visiting journeymen.

On the local front, captain Anderson Trotman warmed up for the Challenge on opening day of the BTC’s third season by winning the feature – Courtesy Breeders Classic astride Vanity Affair.

Other Challenge colleagues, who entered winner’s enclosure were Rickey Walcott, scoring with Luckyluckyme and Poetic Licence; Antonio Whitehall won the supporting feature the Courtesy Juvenile Stakes and Trophy over 1 100 metres astride Halle Rose and  Antonio Perch joined the fray safely, piloting Zaltarr home.

The Barbados team for this jockey challenge is completed by Reshawn Latchman and apprentice Affrie Ward.