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Beat Thisonesforron and win NLCB Gold Cup
Champion trainer John O’Brien has a very strong hand in the Grade Two —NLCB Gold Cup to be run off on Tuesday (Boxing Day) at Santa Rosa Park in Arima.
O’Brien will saddle last year’s “Horse of The Year” Thisonesforron, along the leading three-year-old of this year, Leading Lady and the derby’s third place finisher, Battle Cry, in the $200,000 purse event.
Last year, Thisonesforron attempted to win the prestigious Stewards Cup/Gold Cup double but found the Glenn Mendez trained Control Unit difficult to control. Thisonesforron came back in the Gold Cup to win in impressive fashion by 3 1/4 lengths in the time of 1:54.22.
O’Brien has Thisonesforron primed to do the double this time and having won the Stewards Cup by the shortest of short heads from Bigman In Town which re-opposes Tuesday, Thisonesforron will be difficult to beat.
His stable-mate Leading Lady has won the Midsummer Classic and the Derby the second and third legs of local racing’s Triple Crown and looked unlucky not to have won the “Triple Crown”. She will attempt to win this season’s “Horse of The Year” title and could do so if successful in this event.
O’Brien has gone for Prayven Badrie for the filly and she must have an outstanding chance with 48 kilos to tote. She could emulate the Jack Debideen trained New Millennium which won this event for the late Bernard Dulal-Whiteway back in 2001. She is well bred and if she has improved in the interim will go very close.
O’Brien has taken his time with Battle Cry which was the leading juvenile of last year. Battle Cry was injured and was away from the track for four months before making his belated return to racing. However, he ran a blinder in the Derby and has shown that he still retain his ability. He will race with 51 kilos for former champion jockey Brian Boodramsing and must be respected. This trio must go close to plundering the top prizes for O’Brien who is already assured of the “Trainers Champion” titles.
In what looks an open event, Harriram Gobin will send out three for champion owner Shivam Maharaj. Gobin will be represented by last year’s runner-up Conquest Bespoke for which Panamanian jockey Joe Angel Batista has been booked. This horse will go close and after working well last Sunday, the stable has a great chance of upsetting the O’Brien Christmas Party.
Stable-mate Stockyard has done all that was expected for this event and will no doubt be expected to win with Ron Ali selecting him as the stable’s first string. Errazuriz is the final entrant of Gobin and this horse will be ridden by Wilmer Galviz. This could prove beyond him.
Thrice “Horse of the Year” winner Bigman In Town was an unlucky loser of this year’s Stewards’ Cup when going down by a short-head to O’Brien trained Thisonesforron. He has had his share of injuries and this is a big ask in the twilight of his career. Should Bobby Persad have him in the same form as two weeks ago he could end his career on a high note.
Champion trainer Mendez is not a man to forget when the major event come around and he has two entered in this race. He introduces Rock In Peace in the Gold Cup and the hint should be taken. However, Whisper Light has been a good servant for the stable and must be respected with Ricky Jadoo astride.
Whisper Light has one way of racing and when beaten over this trip by the Shivam Maharaj relay team, he could be found wanting again because the pace will be a genuine one and no one will be able to dictate matters.
Fourteen (14) horses could face the starter for the main event on Boxing Day, traditionally one of the biggest day’s in horse racing when the Grade Two - NLCB Gold Cup over 2,000 metres will be run off.
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