Campesino the one to beat
PHILIP FEANNY's CAMPESINO makes a quick return to grade one as the horse to beat in Saturday's 1300-metre Cliggott Memorial against five overmatched rivals after slamming open allowance company by six lengths last month.
The seven-year-old gelding emerged from BUZZ NIGHTMARE's shadow in November's Caribbean Sprint, upstaging his stablemate by a length-and-a-quarter at 1200 metres, clocking a fine 1:10.4.
Though he went outside his distance in an ambitious shot at December's Diamond Mile, CAMPESINO still finished a decent fifth behind Horse of the Year SEEKING MY DREAM's stakes-record equalling 1:36.2.
Taking advantage of the condition that allows grade one winners to drop to open allowance, CAMPESINO made hacks of five rivals in last month's St Catherine Cup, posting 1:05.0 for the 1100-metre trip.
Back among grade one horses, CAMPESINO faces five runners, none of whom can match the Feanny speedster for pace when jockey Robert Halledeen asks him to run.
United States-bred BRAWN had beaten CAMPESINO at tomorrow's distance in last year's Saint Cecelia Trophy. However, the dynamics were different then. CAMPESINO never got a chance to settle on the lead, heckled by FORCE DE JOUR down the backstretch and into the lane.
CAMPESINO eventually got his head in front a furlong out but contesting splits of 23.1, 46.0 and 1:10.2 took toll inside the final furlong, allowing BRAWN to burrow through on the inside with Aaron Chatrie.
Tomorrow's set-up has only one horse capable of keeping pace with CAMPESINO, that's SIR BUDGET. The improved five-year-old tried stealing last month's St Catherine Cup but was outclassed when CAMPESINO came calling in the stretch run.
Though 10lb lighter now, SIR BUDGET's stamina limitations will deter him from capitalising on his weight advantage. CAMPESINO's stalking pace should give him first run on SIR BUDGET. Class should take him home safely thereafter.