Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cheeseman riding high


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The most recognisable name in the trainers’ table at the Garrison Savannah, Victor Cheeseman, again sits on top the leader board of the Barbados Turf Club’s first racing season, which ended last Saturday.

While every owner wants to win a Derby, it is the dream of all trainers to capture the Triple Crown.

Over the years, this year being no exception, Cheeseman has become even more aggressive when you mention the word Classics.

So it comes as no surprise that after the recent Barbados Guineas, Cheeseman, through Gandalf, is now the only trainer eligible for such an achievement.

The statistics of the four-time champion trainer, after his charges stamped their authority around the Savannah, show earnings of $232 876 and the most wins (12). His win percentage stands at 18 and he pockets an additional $600 and $400, respectively, for those accomplishments.

Apart from producing a treble on the third day of the season with Northern Star, Majestic Star and Middle Passage, Cheeseman separated himself from those he shares the trainers’ room with by scalping three stakes races.

Northern Star, the 2016 Horse of the Year and 2017 champion creole, touched off the top class to win the 1 800 metres Coolmore “Home of Champions” Stakes.

On March 3, Gold Cup day, it was more success for Northern Star, with the colt, which is owned by Mervyn Rollins and Cheeseman, taking the Tanglewood Stakes and Trophy over 2000 metres.

Always with a strong crop of juveniles, Cheeseman sent four horses down to the starter on the season’s final day, Barbados Guineas Raceday, to press for top honours. That quartet read Brave Star, Majestic Star, Gandalf and Jackmanannygap.

The wait for the outcome of the first jewel of the Triple Crown was not a long one as it only took 1:36.1 minutes for Gandalf to easily elevate himself above his eight other competitors. Up until minutes before the start of the race, unsure punters had Gandalf, partnered by jockey Jalon Samuel, trading favouritism with his stablemate Brave Star, ridden by Rickey Walcott.

That’s all the pair traded as the issue of who is the better horse was settled from the front when the Bills Inc.-owned colt Gandalf, who is a half-brother to Guineas and Derby winner Poetic Licence, prevailed handsomely. Both horses were bred by Philip Moseley.

It was Gandalf’s second win, which places him equal with Brave Star. This performance has certainly positioned Cheeseman to make an even stronger championship bid on May 12. 

Second to Cheeseman is trainer Robert Peirce, who although tied with college Boston John on the same number of wins (7), edges him on earnings. Along with a win percentage of 11, Peirce earned $125.723 for the season. John’s earnings reflect $109 931 with a win percentage of 12.

Through a string of breathtaking runs by his classy-looking colt named Jericho, who in the process notched a hat-trick from his four track appearances, he became early Classic favourite. Jericho unfortunately suffered an injury which ruled him out of the Guineas.

Trainers Roger Parravicino, with a win percentage of 26, and Edward Walcott Jr on 15 per cent both finished tied on six wins.

However, the pair missed out on that fourth position in the standings to Richard Deane, who despite just managing four wins, has better earnings. Deane, with his champion import of last year, Infrared, as his major weapon had returns of $100 330 and a win percentage of ten. (LY)


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