Gandalf with Rasheed Hughes leading Brave Star and Rickey Walcott into the homestretch. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
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It was not a script tailor-made for a sensational Classic as Barbados Guineas winner Gandalf spectacularly turned the tables on hot favourite and stablemate Brave Star on Saturday, only to lose in the stewards room following a lengthy delay.
The upheld results at the Garrison Savannah set tongues wagging among racing purists as it effectively ended Gandalf’s Triple Crown quest after the thrilling contest.
The race day stewards’ ruling was handed down following an objection which was upheld on the grounds of irresponsible riding after the start by Gandalf’s jockey Rasheed Hughes.
For owners Bills Inc, it still gave them that elusive win in the Pinnacle Feeds Midsummer Creole Classic as Brave Star was elevated to the winning slot. However, it was bittersweet as they lost out on the $100 000 bonus for the horse to win all three jewels of the Triple Crown.
The official result showed Brave Star won ahead of Pretty Princess, My Friend Patch and Whatyouthink.
Gandalf was disqualified and eventually placed behind Stealin, who, after being hampered at the start, finished second last ahead of Toco Man.
Controversy reigned following the start and Stealin, Jackmanannygap, and My Friend Patch were badly affected. Gandalf’s surge to the front with Top Kat and Pretty Princess in pursuit with My Friend Patch, Jackma-nanaygap and Brave Star all settling into good positions.
As Gandalf extended his lead into the paddock bend, the trailing pack became rushed as soon as Brave Star moved into a challenging position, striding from sixth-place alongside leader Gandalf.
The pair then separated themselves from the other seven runners, sailing by the two-furlong marker with a four-lengths advantage, which swiftly became a dozen lengths.
With the others clearly struggling, it became a tussle for the third-place, which was headed by Top Kat, My Friend Patch and Pretty Princess. Meanwhile, Gandalf and Brave Star went head-to-head for the next two furlongs before Brave Star, after some vigorous riding by jockey Rickey Walcott, threw in the towel as the pair rounded the homestretch.
Gandalf was resilient and continued powering to the line ahead of Brave Star. Pretty Princess ran the race of her life under Dario Croney, while My Friend Patch also put up the best effort since his maiden win as he hit the tins before the upgrade.
Trainer Boston John starred on the Pinnacle Feeds Midsummer Creole Classic Raceday as he saddled three winners. Among them was Joshua, under Rickey Walcott, took the Pinnacle Feeds Areutalkintome Handicap over 1 100 metres.
John also struck with Newcastle Clipper for owner Miller St John in the Pinnacle Feeds Summer Time Handicap over 1570 metres.
J By Two’s War Music landed the Pinnacle Feeds River Dancer Trophy Handicap over the same distance to start a treble for John. (LY)