DaCosta, Walker aim at Guineas history
TRAINER Wayne DaCosta and jockey Omar Walker have the firepower to historically land both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas on Saturday, the easier of the two being SHE'S A MANEATER, who is yet to be beaten by a filly in six starts.
DaCosta is attempting to become the third trainer to land a Guineas double following Paul Newman (1980), Billy Williams (1991) and Philip Feanny (1992 and 1993).
Though SHE'S A MANEATER is DaCosta's lone starter in the 1000 Guineas and will have to shape her own fate, as she did when caught in traffic in last month's Thornbird Stakes before exploding in the stretch run, FEARLESS SAMURAI will obviously have help in the 2000 Guineas.
DaCosta has four runners in the 2000 Guineas, led by FEARLESS SAMURAI, who will have a bullseye on his back, being a front runner. Though FEARLESS SAMURAI shook off WESTERN WARRIOR and outclassed rivals at 1400 metres in last month's Prince Consort, the stakes have since risen with the likes of Anthony Nunes' speedy BALAZO getting into the race from number 18 on the also-eligible list.
It should be noted how two of Nunes' horses, DONTAE and ICTUS, were asked to make way for BALAZO, who returned off a near seven-month lay-up last Wednesday to win by almost 10 lengths at 1300 metres, blazing splits of 23.3, 34.4, 46.3, 58.3 and 1:12.3, ending in 1:20.2.
It's obvious that Nunes is willing to gamble on BALAZO's speed at a mile instead of DONTAE, who closed to finish three-and-three-quarter lengths behind FEARLESS SAMURAI at seven furlongs in the Prince Consort.
However, DaCosta is a wily camper and, taking no chances, has Plan B up his sleeve, LOOSE CANNON, whose stamina limitations were exposed at six furlongs in February's Sir Howard Stakes when caught and beaten by DON CHASSIS. He returned to show that he's a mean sprinter by clocking 1:05.4 at 1100 metres last month.
Whatever the plans with BALAZO are, whether to steal a march or suck FEARLESS SAMURAI into a speed duel for SOTOMAYOR to close on, LOOSE CANNON will certainly be right there in the mix, keeping Nunes' speedster honest from the start.
It's a bold gamble on Nunes' part, considering SOTOMAYOR is yet to reproduce his winning Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes form in two races since and that the horse pulled out, DONTAE, wasn't far behind FEARLESS SAMURAI in the Prince Consort.
FEARLESS SAMURAI's prince Consort win was his best effort in six starts. He showed that he can be rated and will definitely get a mile from on or just about off the pace. It appears that the cheekpieces fitted for the Prince Consort was what he needed all along.