Saturday, December 16, 2017

‘Popstar’ shines

Jamaica’s Horse of the Year lands Massy Oaks


OAKS HEROINE: Princess Popstar, with Wilmer Galviz in the irons, cruises to victory in yesterday’s 1,800-metre Massy Oaks Stakes at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

Mark Fraser

PRINCESS POPSTAR made it lucky seven on her local debut with a comfortable success in the 1,800-metre Massy Oaks, co-feature on yesterday’s Independence Day holiday card at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.

Ridden by Wilmer Galviz for trainer John O’Brien, the Jamaica-bred daughter of Adore The Gold/Doc’s Paladin scored by 6 3/4 lengths from Raeven Renae, Glorious Country and Market Rally, in that order. The dark bay filly covered the ‘route’ in a decent 1:54.4. 

Tugging for the lead shortly after the start, Princess Popstar was joined by Soca Rhapsody. The pair separated themselves by about six lengths from the pursuing Market Rally, who in turn was followed by Raeven Renae and Desert Gold.

The leading duo set sedate fractions for the opening quarter and half mile (25.1 seconds and :49.3). Nearing the halfway stage, Soca Rhapsody started to reverse, while Raeven Renae made a forward move to the leader, who was still comfortably out front.

Princess Popstar turned for home all by herself while Raeven Renae kept on without posing a serious challenge.

The triumphant Galviz, when asked about the race, said: “It was very easy win.” Pressed further as to if he felt the filly had more fuel in the tank, Galviz responded: “Yes, she ended up with a lot in hand, and I never touched her with the whip.”

O’Brien, when quizzed about the filly’s chance in the Trinidad Derby on September 24, following her stroll in the ‘Park’ yesterday, said: “It is going to be a hell of a race with some good horses in the race. It is going to be a lovely Derby.” 

Earlier, in the day’s third race, Holy Man came within two-fifths of a second of equalling Bruceontheloose’s 1,200-metre track record of 1:09.2 set on May 21, 2011. The three-year-old son of Saint Anddan, who was ridden by three-kilo apprentice Roosevolt Angnoo for trainer Shaffique Khan, scored by 2 1/4 lengths from Signal Alert, Intact and Secret American, in the five-runner sprint.

With the light impost of 49.5 kilos, Holy Man was sent to the front by Angnoo after Intact surrendered the lead within the first 200 metres. He was then pressed by 4/5 favourite Signal Alert. But, after searching fractions of :22.4 seconds and :46.3, Signal Alert could not maintain the gallop, and Holy Man romped home an easy winner.