Poker Star ups the ante
Caribbean Sprint champion POKER STAR renews rivalry with trainer Philip Feanny's pair of CAMPESINO and BUZZ NIGHTMARE, allowing both weight, but should still see them off with topweight 57.0 kilos in this afternoon's 1100-mtre St Catherine Cup.
Wayne DaCosta's POKER STAR made hacks of Feanny's tag team in the Caribbean Sprint on Superstakes Day, November 14, brushing much-heralded BUZZ NIGHTMARE off the lead in the 1200-metre event. When CAMPESINO came calling in the stretch run, POKER STAR effortlessly lengthened his stride, to win going away in a fast 1:11.3 with Robert Halledeen astride.
Reporting for today's St Catherine Cup, BUZZ NIGHTMARE, who was going for a fifth consecutive win when he had his wings clipped by POKER STAR, returns 11lb lighter (50 kilos) from a six-and-a-half length loss after sitting level on last.
CAMPESINO is also lighter (56 kilos), down three pounds from his three-length loss, after allowing POKER STAR five pounds in the Caribbean Sprint, representing an eight-pound swing.
Despite being better off at the scale, Feanny's pair still has a mountain to climb against a much-improved POKER STAR, revelling in his new role as a sprinter after being outclassed by his stablemates in the longer three-year-old classics last season.
Since placing fifth in the 2000 Guineas, third in the Governor's Cup and sixth in the Jamaica Derby, POKER STAR has not lost a sprint race, making him not only the top three-year-old sprinter of last season, but also champion overall sprinter, underlined by his easy win in the Caribbean Sprint against older horses.
DaCosta, newly crowned all-time champion trainer at Caymanas Park with 15 titles, should saddle three winners on the 10-race card. In addition to POKER STAR in the St Catherine Cup, CRUISING MOTION and BIG GEORGE, second and third races, respectively, will be hard acts to follow.