Saturday, February 24, 2018

Trainers predict Guineas winner unstoppable

THE second leg of the Triple Crown series, the 1,900-metre Carib Brewery Midsummer Classic, appears to a formality for trainer John O’Brien’s unbeaten colt Momentum, who continues on the 2014 Triple Crown trail having won the first leg, the 1,800-metre NLCB Easter Guineas on April 21 at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.

Based on the opinions of the trainers of the other runners in the “Midsummer”, Momentum will be a very short-priced favourite today.

The Express spoke with trainers Harriram “Pepsi” Gobin, Terrance Thomas and Derick Mosca, who have four of the nine runners in the race.

Gobin, who will saddle Jamaica-bred Bigman Bas and Soca Rhapsody, both of whom will be clashing with Momentum for the first time, declared: “Momentum is the horse to beat.”

“Bigman Bas only had one start and he needed that run,” Gobin stated. “I am expecting him to run a more improved race in the Midsummer Classic, because he is a much fitter horse for this race. “Soca Rhapsody had a setback and we missed some important races,” he added. “On her return after two months, she did not have the competitive edge. She needed the run. If we get a wet/fast track, or rain before the race, she will run a grand race. There is the belief she is not a stayer, as she was beaten in her first two-turn race, but she needed the run.”

Gobin, who now trains 2013 Horse of the Year Bigman In Town which has moved from O’Brien’s barn, fancies the chestnut’s chances in the 1,200-metre Carib Beer Santa Rosa Dash.

Asked about the other runners Gobin declared: “Definitely, Crime Of Passion is the horse to beat, and Sacred Trust to a lesser extent. Those will be the two horses.”

Pressed about his opinion of highly-regarded three-year-old Coroneo, Gobin said: “I did not see him work, but I think the graded horse, Crime Of Passion, will be the horse to beat.”

However, Coroneo has history on his side as Crime Of Passion won this event last year as a three-year-old.

Trainer Thomas, who has Freedomfigther in the Midsummer Classic line-up, pointed out, “He is a maiden, but is a Jamaica-bred and if that works in my favour I could be in the money. He has improved quite a lot, but there are a couple horses I am not paying them any mind.

“I have a good jockey (Reshawn Latchman), I will get a nice free passage,” Thomas advised. “In his last race he got a bad passage. The word in the paddock is that Soca Rhapsody is not sure to get the trip. I am hoping they are right.”

About Triple Crown contender Momentum, Thomas blurted out: “I think it is a formality with him. It is just going through the motions. I am not looking so high, I am looking lower down the ladder.”

Mosca, who saddles maiden Surya, added: “From his past performances Momentum is hard to beat. I do not know who will run second. My horse, Surya, has some issues. We’re just trying him to see how he will handle the competition, with level weights, so we will have a marker for the future races. He has stamina on his side. I am hoping for a little luck.”

Mosca, who has the well-regarded Star Entertainer in the Dash, stated: “He is a classy horse. He always has something coming up (training issues). We always try to get him to the race. I think Glenn Mendez’s horses, Signal Alert and Readbetweendlines, are the horses we have to beat.

“Crime of Passion is the horse to reckon with, from his Stewards Cup success, and should have been carrying the top weight, but with the weight on his side he will be hard to beat.”