BRUCEONTHELOOSE will go down as the most celebrated Jamaica-bred creole to grace Santa Rosa Park since centralisation of the sport in 1994.
His achievements have made him more outstanding than a Christmas tree around this time of the year. His death this year due to colic created a void in the sport, but some are saying there is a replacement in fellow Jamaica-bred, Bigman In Town, who is unbeaten in this country from four starts, including in the Trinidad Derby Stakes and the Caribbean Champion Stakes.
Tomorrow Bigman In Town is on course to emulate “Bruce” with the Derby and Gold Cup double, but it will not be any walk in the “Park” for the chestnut three-year-old colt, owned by Baskaran Bassawh and trained by John O’Brien.
A full field of 16 runners were declared to participate, but there are two non-runners, Toro Rosso and Strikes Not Spares. Despite rumours to the contrary, Woden will race.
Yesterday the Express spoke with trainer Derick Mosca, who has six runners (Galveston, Buffalo Soldier, Woden, Free Passage, Slewjero and Gabby’s Gold) of the 14 entered in the race.
“Seeing the horses with the light weight, they remind me of Galveston last year, when he finished second to Mobthewarrior, but Galveston was unfortunate his run came too late. Timing is one thing, but class is class; once he (Headline News) has the class, he is the horse to beat,” Mosca explained.
“Bigman In Town is a fine animal, he has a pull in the weights, but might go up in the weight, because his rider Wilmer Galviz might not catch the 50 kilos, and that will bring him closer to the older horses, although some of them are not that sound from what I am hearing,” Mosca added.
“Bigman showed some class, but going up in weight, he does not have the advantage of the weights as Headline News. I do not think Wilmer Galviz will catch the weight,” Mosca advised.
Regarding his runners, Mosca stated: “Woden had a small issue, but Dr Ryan Shim came, and corrected it, and did a magnificent job. He would have the dangerous three-year-old with the pull in the weight, but we missed some work. We picked it up in time, and (Woden) is still a very dangerous horse at 53 kilos, especially with Louis Ramos.”
Mosca is also warning that Galveston could feature in the contest.
“He is prepared properly, and is sound, I do not have any issues with him. I love the one draw for him. You could throw out the last run. We do not know what tactics the race might have. If it is too fast it is good for him, but what I could tell you, he came from that same draw, and finished second, so he could go one better,” Mosca warned.
Slewjero, Mosca said, is “bred for two turns”, but will prove dangerous if he stays within striking distance. He is also optimistic about stakes winner Free Passage, who he feels has been unluck this season. Impressing him the most, though, is Gabby’s Gold.
Said Mosca: “Gabby’s Gold is the most dangerous one of them all, he can do it. He has the class and potential. He has trained well.
“ I would like to wish everybody well, as this Gold Cup is a special one,” Mosca added. “The winner could come from any one of the horses, and anyone’s dream could come true. It is everybody’s dream to win. If I should win I will be very happy to know that I won a good one,” he ended.
Trainer Jose William-Samaroo, who won this event with Double Helix 1997 and Senor Rojo 1999, will only be represented this time around by Allied.
He explained: “Toro Rosso is out. He had an old injury that occurred with him. All I have is Allied (who ran once in T&T last month) now. He has come on a bit from that race, but I do not know, if it has come too early for him, but we have to give it our best shot.”
Regarding the opposition Samaroo declared, “Everybody will like the adopted Jamaican son, Bigman In Town, and the local creole, Headline News to do well, and I wish them all the best.”
Kenny De Silva Jr, who won this race in 2006 with Straight Ahead, will be represented by Champagne Stakes winner, Nominee.
“He did work very well, and he came out very well from the work. It has always been a little concern with him after he works, but he is fit and sound. He won on the turf, and has been thereabout on the main. It is an open race, there are five or six good horses... I think it is an open race,” De Silva Jr stated.
“We are happy and confident of winning. I do not think there isn’t any outstanding horses. The three-year-olds have the pull in the weight, but our horse is coming to hand at the right time,” he advised.
De Silva also gave apprentice Dillon Khelawan—who will ride Nominee—his vote of confidence.
“...He is one of the leading riders, and rides for the leading stable, and knows the horse, as he has been exercising him and that will be a key factor, because to get him to relax will be a key factor.”
“Then you will have the Signal Alert factor also, and you need to sit down, especially going ten furlongs. Looking at his form, he has improved, and danced all the dance with a few share of bad luck, which could change now,” De Silva also said.