CHASE THE DRAGON made light of his top impost of 57 kilos in taking the 1,100-metre Top Of The Class Stakes on the turf at Santa Rosa Park, Arima yesterday.
Sent off as the 6/5 favourite in the $100,000 fifth race on the ten-race card, the John O’Brien-trained four-year-old bay son of Gold Market/Local Charmer, ridden by Brian Boodramsingh for the KIDZ TOO syndicate, scored by 1 ¼ lengths from Atlantica, Hyat Princess and Zorro in a fast 1:03.66. Settled in midpack in the nine-horse contest, he was fired up when making his move to leader Bandwagon approaching the homestretch, and cosily took up the running, smoking his field despite Atlantica running on late to grab the runner-up slot, and Hyat Princess battling against the rails to hold off Zorro to form the trifecta.
Trainer O’Brien completed a clean sweep of the two feature events, taking the second leg with newcomer High Octane, who took the $150,000 Royal Colours Classic for the S.I.R Stables under Wilmer Galviz. High Octane beat stablemate Market Rally by 3 ½ lengths, with 7/5 favourite Country Boy third in the 1,300-metre ninth-race, stopping the clock in a good 1:21.63. However, there was an objection against O’Brien’s two runners. The one against the winner was overruled, but runner-up Market Rally, who kept bouncing Country Boy up the homestretch, was placed third, with Country Boy promoted to the runner-up slot.
Sent off at odds of 4/1, the dark/bay son of Charismatic Cat/Dreams Of Glory came with a sweeping run up the homestretch to score with a lot in hand in the end.
On a day when the future was on parade, unbeaten colts Holy Man and Coroneo kept their flawless records intact.
Three-year-old importation Holy Man, who was voted champion two-year-old importation at last month’s Jetsam Awards ceremony, maintained his unbeaten run, turning back Lang Amour to complete a beaver-trick of wins in yesterday’s third race for three-year-old and over horses rated 100-70.
Handily placed among the leaders in the 1,750-metre event from the off, Holy Man ridden by Ronald Ali for trainer Shaffique Khan scored by half length from Lang Amour, Diplomatic Cat and Woden in a time of 1:52.25. And roan grey three-year-old colt Coroneo ridden by Boodramsingh and trained by O’Brien for owner Chevan Maharaj, who looked special when opening his account on January 18, was more impressive in taking yesterday’s seventh race for horses rated 90-60 over 1,200 metres. He was out in front from the start, but was not allowed to scamper away from the field, and cantered to victory as a 1/9 favourite should, to score by seven lengths from King Whistler, Intact and Slewjero in a good 1:11.91.
Jockey Boodramsingh was the most successful rider on the day, recording a treble aboard Star Dreamer, Chase The Dragon and Coroneo.
Meanwhile, the racing industry was rocked with the news that two jockeys—one a senior one, and the other a one-kilo apprentice—returned positive tests for the drug cannabis (marijuana). Both riders were prevented from fulfilling their riding engagements, and the matter has been referred to the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority (TTRA). They will not be allowed to ride until the matter is heard by the TTRA’s board at its meeting next month.
Racing action takes a break this Saturday because of the Carnival celebrations, but resumes on March 8.