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Soca Rhapsody turns up volume in St Ann’s Stakes

By Glen Mohammed

SOCA RHAPSODY turned up the volume in yesterday’s 1,350-metre Republic Mortgages St Ann’s Stakes without coming off the bridle, scoring unchallenged to take the fillies’ division.
The lovely looking Jamaica-bred chestnut daughter of Market Rally/Soca Dancer – owned by Lester Moore, trained by Anthony “Baba” Nunes and ridden by Wilmer Galviz–scored by 15 ¼ lengths from Maranza, Gold Strike and Princess Reiko in a time of 1:24.41 in the $150,000 Grade One contest. In the process, Soca Rhapsody made herself the short-priced favourite for champion filly at the Jetsam Awards ceremony next year.
“Fulfilling,” Moore said of the filly’s scintillating victory. He added: “I am happy that the stable team has been able to achieve this success. It was a team effort started by Baba, and the game plan started by him, and executed by Brian Harding. I hope she comes out well, and we will take it one day at a time.”
Leaving the start as second favourite, Maranza made the early running with Soca Rhapsody on her outside, followed by Princess Reiko, Gold Strike and Faith N’ Fortune. At the halfway stage, Soca Rhapsody was eased into the lead prompting the riders on Princess Reiko and Gold Strike to urge their mounts along.
Soca Rhapsody enjoying the sloppy conditions, and lengthened her stride without Galviz asking her for an effort, leaving patrons to wonder who would fill the runner-up slot. Maranza held on with a two-length advantage ahead of Gold Strike and Princess Reiko.
Star Entertainer, returning from a seven-month layoff, displayed no signs of rust in making the running in the opening event of the Republic Bank-sponsored Boxing Day card. He was shadowed all the way in the 1,350-metre contest by El Bandido De Oro, but the Merlin Samlalsingh-owned importation displayed good battling quality to hold on by a head on a sloppy main track.
It was a good way to start proceedings for jockey Sheldon Rodrigo and trainer Derick Mosca on the last day of the season, which got underway at 11 a.m.
In the next event, the elder Mosca brother Juan’s Queen Esther – who is a changed horse since he assumed handling of the filly – maintained her good form by making all the running under Nigel Flavenney.
She kicked clear before the home turn, and got there all by herself to complete a beaver-trick of wins, scoring unchallenged. This success ended apprentice Flavenney’s two-kilo claiming allowance.
That change in claim allowance did not deter Flavenney, as he returned in the third race to make his presence felt by pushing out trainer Lawrence Latchmansingh’s Drogbar to success over fast-finishing Chelsi Magic and Camelot. Flavenney, who has hit a rich vein of form, completed a treble on the card aboard Princess Jo Ann in the seventh race, making all the running to give Juan Mosca his second win on the card.
Racing action continues on New Year’s Day with the running of the 1,100-metre Sian’s Gold Sprint on the turf, and the 1,200-metre First Sprint for three-year-old importations.
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