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Trinidad jewel up for grabs

Lindon Yarde

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Several?questions will be answered on Republic Day, the 32nd day of the Trinidad and Tobago horse racing season at Santa Rosa Park in Arima, on Tuesday.
Can War Of Words become Trinidad and Tobago’s ninth Triple Crown winner?
Having only tasted Triple Crown success as an owner with Sky Rocket back in 1986, can champion trainer John O’Brien now etch his name on history’s pages as a trainer?
Is the Barbadian duo of Guineas and Midsummer Creole Classic winners Nekitta and Khartoum capable of causing a major upset or will Jamaican-bred Bigman In Town – the heavy favourite – get the job done?
All these questions will be answered around 4:45 p.m. on a day that is sure to be exciting, with the 11-race card set to start at 10:45 a.m.
The pattern event is Race 10, the National Gas Company CNG Trinidad Derby – the final jewel in the Grade I Triple Crown over 2 000 metres on the main track with a TT$500 000 (BDS$149 380) purse.
Guaranteed to add to the excitement are the raceday bookings of Venezuelan-born, American-based Javier Castellano, who is presently the leading rider at the Belmont meet.
He will be joined by Jamaican-born Rajiv Maragh, who is also campaigning at Belmont, and Trinidadian ace reinsman Emile Ramsammy, who is based at Woodbine.
Antonio Whitehall will once again ride the Lewin Godding-owned Nekitta but the pair will have to improve significantly in order to win. Since making the trip to Trinidad, Nekitta finished near the back of the field in her lone trial race over six furlongs.
While the distance should not pose a problem, her obstacles clearly remain the sand factor and running counter-clockwise. There are also very classy entries in top form to beat.
Khartoum, which is owned by Mark Goodridge and Phillip Moseley, has paid the late penalty fees and will break out of the starting gate from stall No. 10. This temperamental colt will have his first race outside Barbados, partnered by former Barbadian champion apprentice Antonio Bishop.
Bishop, like his fellow countryman Whitehall, has landed the Tanglewood Stakes And Trophy on previous Gold Cup days in their hometown so the massive crowd should do little to affect the pair’s confidence to get the job done.
War Of Words, who took the first two jewels, will again have Wilma Galviz aboard and will be spearheading a five-pronged attack sent out by O’Brien. The others are Pot Of Gold under Ramsammy, Prince Zeshan with Maragh, plus Headline News and Chase The Dragon.
The booking of Castellano only drives more fear into the entire competition as Jamaican-bred Bigman In Town, in his first and only outing on the Arima course, annihilated the field by a solid 21 lengths.