GOING FOR GOLD: Gandalf
The Sandy Lane Gold Cup, the most prestigious horse race in the southern Caribbean, runs off at the Garrison Savannah on Saturday. In the lead-up to the big race, horse racing writer Lindon Yarde begins a series of profiles on the horses.
Owners: Bills Inc.
Trainer: Victor Cheeseman
Distance attempts: 3
Best Time: 1:52
Gandalf, the horse that has created much buzz around the Garrison Savannah, like the other creoles entered in the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, faces his greatest test.
As a three-year-old, he mesmerised the track fans with his attractive front running style. He is at his most destructive best when alone on the lead with a no-surrender attitude, always proving difficult to overcome.
Gandalf won the Barbados Guineas and the Massy United Insurance Derby. He also won the Midsummer Classic but was disqualified, while stablemate Brave Star was elevated, thus relinquishing his chances of capturing the Triple Crown.
He destroyed his opposition in the Sale Graduates’ Vase Handicap for horses’ 75-57, winning by four lengths, and then he tackled the top-class horses in the John B. Simpson Handicap, leaving the pundits in awe as he annihilated the crème de la crème.
Gandalf defeated the same company over same distance, this time winning the Diamonds International Crown of Light Boxing Day Stakes and Trophy on terms that were more favourable as he received only three pounds. These performances demonstrated that he is definitely above his peers and better than the top-class local entrants for the Gold Cup.
As a front runner, Gandalf will have his work cut out as others, namely Infrared and Burndines have similar attributes. His speed is lethal but he will have to sustain it for a prolonged period. Besides, he will more than likely have to survive a bruising last quarter mile.
The outside draw won’t stop Gandalf from seeking the lead but his fledging class will come under great scrutiny by the out and out late runners. If he can manhandle them up front, then he may be able to hang on what would be a most welcome win off such a huge gamble. (LY)