HOLY MAN, unbeaten as a juvenile, only lost that tag because of the misfortune when one of his rider’s stirrup broke, and was pulled up, in a race eventually won by Crime Of Passion, earlier this season.
Trainer Shaffique Khan appears to have discovered the colt’s optimum distance, in today’s 1200-metre feature event at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. Holy Man is one of the seven runners in the rated 100-70 contest.
Apprentice Nigel Flavenney partners the colt, who is coming off a big win when beating Thisonesforron over course and distance on May 10. He scored that day by three lengths, while conceding the runner-up one kilo. Today, he is handing out 3.5 kilos to Thisonesforron, who has an excellent chance of reversing the placings at the handicap.
However, Holy Man is on the improve and with rain forcast, a wet/fast surface will further enhance his chances. Also in the line-up is the speedy Intact, who in the Grade Two Santa Rosa Dash posted some fast early fractions, only to be collared in the homestretch.
He was beaten by 9 1/2 lengths by the winner, Bigman In Town, in a fast 1:10.3. And coming from stakes level into handicap company, he must be considered.
Slewjero went gate-to-wire on that same day (Indian Arrival Day). However, it should be noted that the track appeared to be playing to a speed bias, as most of the horses scored from the front. Slewjero is unlikely to get the chance to dictate the pace while without the services of Jamaica’s leading rider, Dane Nelson.
The other competitorss, El Bandido De Oro, Harry Could Dance and Red Lace are not any serious factors and can be disregarded. The race boils down to a showdown between the speedy Intact and Holy Man, and with youth on the side of Holy Man, he should not be opposed.
The other race that could excite punters is race three. This is expected to be a showdown between the two leading trainers. John O’Brien is represented by Kidz Ro while Harold Chadee, second in the trainers’ standings behind O’Brien, has five starters.
Chadee’s quintet are Prince Zeshan, Smart American, Buffalo Soldier, King Whistler and Plum Plum. Among them, only Buffalo Soldier has the turf pedigree to score, based on his runner-up finish to Headline News in the Champagne Stakes on the lawn—Kidz Ro finished fourth in the event which had a flag start.
At the weights, Buffalo Soldier, who is carrying top impost of 57 kilos, will be hard pressed to hand out 7.5 kilos to Kidz Ro, who carries the light impost of 49.5 kilos. If the race is switched to the main track, the race could develop into a battle between Plum Plum, Buffalo Soldier, and Prince Zeshan, with the nod going to Buffalo Soldier over Prince Zeshan.
There is a strong possibility that races scheduled on the turf will be moved to the main course because of forecast. So, look for the horses who have scored on wet/fast or sloppy conditions.
Post time for the day’s opener on the ten-race card is 11.30 a.m.