UNLIKE the poinsettia plant which changes to red during the Christmas season, faces will change to red faster, after the running of the 2,000-metre Republic Bank Gold Cup — the marquee event on the ten-race Boxing Day card at Santa Rosa Park.
It is an open race, and possible favourites Bigman In Town or Headline News could be beaten, and this will create the rapid facial changes.
The field has been reduced to 13 runners, with Strikes Not Spares, Woden and Toro Rosso out.
This line-up is one of the most competitive to line up for the 60th running of the $500,000 showpiece.
It is Boxing and Gold Cup day at Santa Rosa Park.
The Horse of the Year title is on the line, and should either Bigman In Town or Galveston score, the title is theirs. However, it is not a two-horse race as T&T-bred Headline News poses a big danger to either horse, as he only went under by a head to Bigman In Town in the 1,800-metre Caribbean Champion Stakes, and is now two kilos better off at the weights, as they both ran with 52 kilos in the Champion Stakes. However, Bigman In Town’s owner Baskaran Bassawh stated all wasn’t right with the colt on that day, as he later scoped bad, and that has since been corrected.
Bigman In Town is a special horse, but it is the first time he will be coming up against horses at the top of the handicap standings in the country. Rain is predicted, and the track would favour speed. If this happens, Bigman In Town will relish the conditions.
The Gold Cup will also be a tactical race. The “Bigman” has the in-form Wilmer Galviz, who is the leading rider and a sound judge of pace.
This race will be run at a testing pace as former Stewards Cup winner Signal Alert has been left in, and will ensure that the fractions are fast for the first 1,000 metres. This means that Bigman In Town will have to be in striking range, and timing of his move will be critical as the others, including Headline News, will be queuing up to strike.
Stamina will be utmost also, as the race will be run at an honest gallop, and this is the sort of race that is ideal for the ‘king’ of this distance, Nobel Abrego. He rides Gabby’s Gold for owner Shivam Maharaj, and trainer Derick Mosca. This chestnut is the second highest rated horse in the event behind Signal Alert, and possesses the ‘cosmetics’ to address the facial changes, as he was the leading juvenile importation and in his last start on August 1 in the 1,900-metre President’s Cup, he made all the running with Abrego aboard, beating Golden Dixieland and Galveston. He is a live contender and has trained extremely well, ahead of this prestigious event, However, he is racing with a first-time visor which could have him a little too sharp. But with Signal Alert set to make the running, it should not inconvenience him, but work in his favour.
Jamaica-bred Bigman In Town faces his sternest test in his five-race career in this event, and will have to move earlier than usual to launch his challenge. That move could put a bullseye on his back if this happens, and he cannot delay it if he wants to steal a march as Gabby’s Gold will be settled in Signal Alert’s slipstream, set to collect the baton from Signal Alert, and if not tackled early will steal the march.
The danger will now come from Golden Dixieland, who was unlucky in the running behind Gabby’s Gold, and Galveston, who will relish running at speed from the back.
Gabby’s Gold looks set for double “Gold” with silver going to Bigman In Town, Galveston, Golden Dixieland, and Headline News. Post time is 11 a.m.