BIG MAN could prove regal in today's 1,300-metre Royal Colours Classic, the feature event on the nine-race card at Santa Rosa Park.
This event could be an early indicator as to the horses that have trained on from two to three, but might not be the proper yardstick to measure their ability for the upcoming Graded events for West Indian-bred three-year-olds in the coming months.
Despite that, colts Big Man and Central Square should dominate this $125,000 eight-horse showpiece for native-bred three-year-olds, having finished third and fourth respectively in the 1,350-metre St James Stakes. The time (1:22.4) returned in the St James Stakes by the colts was faster than that of the fillies in the St Ann's Stakes (1:25.2). Big Man confirmed this superiority when meeting the fillies, romping home in his prep for this event last month. And the fillies will need to improve by at least one second to be given consideration in this race. But from their last starts, they have not done that.
To ensure success, Nobel Abrego replaces champion apprentice Dillon Khelawan on Big Man. Thinking of opposing Big Man could really impact negatively on your pocket. He has trained very well heading into this contest, and will be hard to topple.
Central Square, beaten by Big Man in the St James Stakes, does not appear to have progressed sufficiently to reverse the placings.
Run Ron, the other colt in the line-up, has been fitted with first-time blinkers and is tongue-tied, and he should run an improved race.
Filly Black Pepper, who failed to fire behind Big Man on January 12, sports a first-time visor today and she could bounce back from that poor run, while Heidi's Tzippi has been fitted with blinkers for the first time to get her focused. The other filly, Right To Rule, was beaten by a wide margin on her debut to Central Square but improved on that form with a runaway success in her next start.
The speedy Hyat Princess trotted up in her last start scoring by 11 3/4 lengths from Precise Moment. Prior to that start, she finished a distant second to Gold Rush with Heidi's Tzippi finishing third.
There will not be any hanging around with these fillies, and if the colts allow them to put the slip on them, they will be hard to peg back. They could also be the rabbits for Big Man and Central Square, who are the horses to beat.
In the undercard event, race eight, owner/trainer Harold Chadee's Smart American, who finished second to Sacred Trust in the 1,100-metre First Citizens Sian's Gold Sprint on the turf on New Year's Day, should not get caught in today's race for horses rated 100-80 on the turf.
His biggest threat will come from track record holder, Fly Junior, who finished fourth in the Sian's Gold Sprint as he is better off at the weights. When both horses met in the Sian's Gold Sprint, Fly Junior carried 53 kilos while Smart American shouldered 55 kilos, a difference of two kilos. This time around, Smart American carries 56.5 kilos while Fly Junior carries 52 kilos.
Emile Ramsammy gets the ride on Fly Junior and he could make the difference on the colt, who loves a hard/fast turf track, but may not get it to his liking today.
Both runners should dominate this event, and jockeyship could decide the outcome.
Among the others, Joezel is nicely handicapped at 48.5 kilos, while King Whistler is on a handy mark at 53.5, and they along with Youaresobad could follow the main contenders home. Smart American on his good run in the Sian's Gold should wire this field.
Post time for the day's opener is 12.00 p.m.