ISLAND STAR, coming off a creditable fourth to Headline News in the previous Saturday’s feature event - the 1,800-metre Caribbean Turf Championship - got success via a change of tactics in yesterday’s feature 1,100-metre race for three-year-old and over horses rated 70-55.
One from last in the seven-horse field in the penultimate race at Santa Rosa Park, the John O’Brien-trained mare owned by Anthony Wight and ridden by Brian Boodramsingh, scored by one length from 4/5 favourite, Princess She’s Not, D’Sportsman and Hyat Princess in a time of 1:04.47.
A scorching pace was set by My Ari, with Hyat Princess and Lenglen in close proximity to Princess She’s Not, D’Sportsman, Island Star and Double Roses.
However, positions up front changed rapidly once Mr Ari was collared before the hometurn. Princess She’s Not slipped up the rails, with Island Star motoring on the outside and D’Sportsman also making good headway to the front rank. But it was Island Star who had the momentum and came away easily in the end from Princess She’s Not.
The brilliant sunshine that has graced Santa Rosa Park for the majority of racedays so far this new season, was not present this week. And the overcast conditions made yesterday’s 12.30pm start look later than it was. But the conditions did not hamper the pace-setting Hidden Agenda in the 1,100-metre contest on the turf for four-year-old and over maidens.
Hidden Agenda took up the running very early from Golden Mistress and 4/5 favourite Star Dreamer and came home an easy winner in the day’s opener. The five-year-old Jamaica-bred mare, sent off as the 2/1 second choice and ridden by jockey Keishan Balgobin for owner Sieusankar Maraj and trainer Lester Alexis, scored from Star Dreamer, with Spectacular Return and Monica Do Do completing the superfecta on a fast track in a time of 1:05.63.
And the Jamaica-breds maintained their fine strike rate in the second race. Trainer Harold Chadee’s All For The Haul, runner-up to stablemate Eye See You the previous week, and sent out at the generous price of 7/1 under Nicholas Patrick, turned in his maiden certificate at the expense of Maximus, scoring by one length with odds-on favourite Market Rally finishing sixth in the 1,100-metre second race.
Ten-year-old chestnut gelding Seal The Deal, ridden by Stanley Chadee, and sent off as the 8/5 second choice, turned back the clock, romping home ahead of stablemate Traditional Song, who was the 3/5 favourite. In this event, Renewed Dream was euthanised.
Trainer Ricky Maharaj, who recently obtained his trainer’s licence, recorded the second win of his short career with Nothing Left--owned by his dad Maniram Maharaj--taking the fourth race under Ronald Ali in the 1,100-metre event for three-year-old and over horses rated 40-0 on the turf. In this event, Wise Decision, who finished fifth, was disqualified and Fire N’ Faith was promoted to fifth.
In the fifth race, the honours went to All Is Yours. The filly ridden by Ryan Hasranah held off raging favourite Readyforstanley to record her first success from 15 starts and gave trainer Rohit Dube his first victory on the card.
Back on to the course, creole Nawab, who disappointed in his previous run on the turf, rewarded faithful followers with a comfortable win in the sixth race on the main track. Handily placed behind the pace-setting Salome, the chestnut took up the running under Shawn Samuel towards the hometurn and came home a very easy winner, scoring by 6 ¼ lengths for owner/trainer Dr Jagdis Suratsingh. In this event, there were no winners of the Hi-5 combination of Nawab, Lady Sage, Salome, Super Sonic, and Messi, which would have paid $34,390.20. However, it was carried over to the curtain event, and Zorro put his opponents to the sword there, making literally all the running to give trainer Juan Mosca his lone success on the card.
Racing continues this Saturday with a possible eight-race programme.