Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Glorious Country to cruise in ‘Lexus’

TRAINER Glenn Mendez’s dominance in Graded races since June 20 should continue with Glorious Country cruising away with today’s Grade One Lexus T&T Breeders Classic over 1,800 metres for native bred three-year-olds. It is the eighth race on the Toyota sponsored ten-race card at Santa Rosa Park.

The event is the first of only three $500,000 races on the racing calender, the other two being the Trinidad Derby Stakes on September 24, and the Gold Cup on December 26. 

Mendez has a strong hand in the event with the fashionably bred Glorious Country (Big Country/Pride N Glory)  and Dark Treasure. Twelve horses are declared to go to post for the $300,000 first prize on the Emancipation Day holiday event sponsored by the Betting Levy Board. 

Glorious Country grew in stature after her first run around two turns, scoring very easily. She then improved on that run by romping against last year’s champion juvenile, Jamaica-bred Soca Rhapsody in her next two-turn race. And it is that run--when she scored in a good 1:52.3 by 9 1/4 lengths--that made her the early favourite for this event. Her rider, Ronald Ali said she is improving with each run, and is still learning. 

With the expected scope for further improvement, none of the other 11 runners pose any serious threat to her completing a hat-trick of wins. Her stablemate Dark Treasure worked alongside her on Sunday and was no match for the filly. 

Champion trainer John O’Brien has three runners, Market Rally, Masterpiece and High Octane in the race. High Octane has competed at Graded level, finishing a distant fifth in the Easter Guineas behind Momentum and fourth in the Midsummer Classic again to Momentum. He has not improved from either race, while Glorious Country continues to move forward. They are both lightly raced, but Glorious Country has distinguished herself when routing, and High Octane has not. His stablemate, Masterpiece failed miserably behind Eye See You, last time out and was given some time off to recuperate. He has worked well for his comeback run, and could be a better prospect. 

Lone female trainer, Sharon Ferreira saddles Country Boy in the contest, and he should also give a good account, but should not trouble Glorious Country, which was bred at the Ferreira Farm across the road from the track.

Glorious Country is a standout, and will not be beaten, and should be followed home by Dark Treasure, High Octane and Masterpiece.

In the 1,900-metre Hino President’s Cup, Mendez saddles Readbetweendlines, who scored by a head from J’Ouvert making all the running with Ricky Jadoo in the 1,800-metre ARC Cup. The Bentley Boys-owned runner could complete a clean sweep of the other Grade event on the card for Mendez. 

He has most to fear from J’Ouvert, who continues to improve. J’Ouvert is worse off at the handicap, as he is closer in the weight to Readbetweendlines and could find it hard to reverse the placings. 

Although beaten by four lengths, Bigman In Town could have the edge now, as none of the aforementioned horses have scored beyond 1,800 metres, while he has won over 2,000 metres. He looks physically better for this race, and with Nobel Abrego now getting the mount, the ‘Bigman’ is the best value in the race, and should upset Readbetweendlines and J’Ouvert.

Post time for the day’s opener is 11.30 a.m.