AN EXCELLENT display of front-running by jockey Joshua Stephen aboard El Bandido De Oro nabbed yesterday’s feature 1,300-metre event for horses rated 90-60 yesterday at Santa Rosa Park, as horse and rider turned back Emile Ramsammy and King Whistler.
El Bandido De Oro, the chestnut son of Van Nistelrooy/Crown Gulch, trained by Harold Chadee for owner Dave Chadee and sent off as the 9/5 joint favourite, scored by 2 ¼ lengths from joint favourite King Whistler, Slewjero and Onefortheroad in a time of 1:19.09 in the six-horse event.
Smoothly away from the seven-gate, he was followed by Slewjero, King Whistler and Onefortheroad in the early part of the race. Nearing the halfway stage, Stephen increased the pace up front, forcing Slewjero and King Whistler to change gears, but El Bandido De Oro wasn’t yet asked a question. When the horses straightened up the homestretch, King Whistler and Ramsammy launched their challenge, but “El Bandido” had plenty in reserve and ran out an easy winner.
Ramsammy, who is back home for a short stint, did not disappoint his followers in the opener however. Sitting off the early pace set by Hyat Princess and Swapped on a sunny afternoon, he was made to work when producing 3/5 favourite Fire Light between horses inside the final 200 metres to get the better of stablemate Swapped as they closed in on the finish line. Although Ramsammy’s mount won going away in the end, the fans weren’t expecting such excitement, but his fine judgement paid dividends.
A change of surface in the second race did not help favourite Nawab, who finished a disappointing fourth as 5/1 choice Atlantica made most of the running in the first turf event to score very easily (3 1/2 lengths) from fast-finishing stablemate Satya Treasure in the 1,100-metre race for horses rated 45-0 under jockey Sheldon Rodrigo to form the exacta for trainer Terrance Thomas. There was a delay, caused by a couple horses who started acting up in the gates, which led to Messi breaking loose and making a full circuit. He was still allowed to compete. The decision not to scratch Messi left punters fuming.
In the second turf event, trainer Walter Debysingh’s Playthatfunkymusic owned by champion owner Shivam Maharaj had followers dancing to the cashing booth after the running of the 1,500-metre race for four-year-old and over maidens on the turf.
The chestnut made all the running to hold off 3/5 favourite Bold Destiny partnered by Ramsammy, who closed on a tiring leader, who jumped a nonexistent shadow.
And in the final turf event of the day, trainer Richard Stephen’s Eyes Of The Wolf scooted out of the gates under apprentice Kiran Rizack to make every metre a winning one. He was challenged halfway out, but held on to a diminishing lead from evens favourite, Star Dreamer.
After a lengthy objection against the winner and third-placed finisher, Always Ready, the race was made official, giving Razack the 50th success of his career.
A delay to the fifth race--a 1,400-metre race for three-year-old and over horses rated 60-45--was caused by the re-shodding of second favourite, Lookin At Lovely , and this event went to U Crazy Diamond, which gave trainer Derick Mosca his second success on the card, having led in Fire Flight in the opener.
Little Otis, the gamble of the race gave supporters something to cheer about, by coming from off the pace to catch the pace-setting, Martha, to give trainer Thomas his second win on the card, having scored earlier with Atlantica.
And in the curtain event, trainer Jose William-Samaroo’s Right To Rule, sent off at odds of 17/1 came with a wet sail to pick off 7/5 favourite Against The Odds inside the final 150 metres to score going away, with second favourite, Direct Injection and Ramsammy third. In this event one punter walked away with the Hi-5 payout of $83,729.50 for selecting the combination of Right To Rule, Against The Odds, Direction Injection, Odin and Red Cloud.
Racing continues next Saturday with turf racing dominating the proposed eight-race card.