APPRENTICE Shaun Samuel gets an excellent opportunity to showcase his ability aboard trainer Jose William-Samaroo's Montejo in the 1,750-metre feature event, for three-year-olds and over rated 90 and over, seventh race on today's eight-race card at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
Montejo has been handed top weight of 58.5 kilos, but the use of three-kilo claiming Samuel tilts the scale in his favour. He is a graded stakes winner who avenged his defeat in last year's Gold Cup by Boogie Blues in the 1,800-metre ARC Cup earlier this year.
He was not seen out after that run, but has the class to prevail.
Recent main track winner, Canadian-bred Mobthewarrior, put up a gutsy performance to rally up the homestretch to defeat Gabby's Gold. He then followed up with a game fourth in the 1,700-metre Eric "Colt" Durant Memorial on the turf behind Just Call Me Roger on a very soft track.
Mobthewarrior is nicely weighted at 48.5 kilos, but will have to take up overweight with the booking of Ryan Thomas, while Montejo is dropping weight.
Lang Amour, on the other hand, carries the light impost of 44 kilos and will not take up any overweight as last year's champion apprentice Kiran Razack will catch this weight.
On breeding, Lang Amour, half-brother to Gold Cup winner Cactus Amour, looks a big danger.
Turf winner Just Call Me Roger won over this trip in a very fast time, but was troubled by leg problems and did not build on that run when held by Boogie Blues last year. He looks suspect.
However, Strikes Not Spares ran a blinder when a very close second to Montejo in the ARC Cup and, with the drop in weight and being reunited with Ronald "Tiger" Ali, he poses the biggest danger to Montejo.
He is the horse to hitch your bankroll to.
Of the other runners, Skyline Pigeon will need the run, while Youraresobad could upset the main contenders if allowed an uncontested lead, which is unlikely.
It will pay handsomely to side with Strikes Not Spares to prevail from Montejo, Lang Amour and Mobthewarrior.
The two-turn curtain event brings together Derby nominees D'Coachman, Taste Of Texas, Bandwagon and Vice Minister to test their ability against the older horses.
Bandwagon, Vice Minister and D'Coachman have shown some improvement, but not enough to give them any chance of defeating Ten Powers, Lady Sage or Hesuntouchabull.
However, Taste Of Texas is also an improving sort and you could throw out his dismal run in last month's Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic behind Onetokeep.
Trainer Christopher Prime claims the farrier rasped too much from his hoof and he was sore in the "Midsummer".
Since then, I saw two workouts this colt did and he looked very good in both.
Jockey Ricky Jadoo believes Taste Of Texas will improve significantly and is spot on in his assessment. He is the horse to beat and should be followed home by Alexander, Ten Powers, Lady Sage and Hesuntouchabull.
Post-time for the day's opener is