Poker Star returns after injury lay-up
POKER STAR returns off an eight-month lay-up, down in class among open allowance horses, but has been betrayed by his exercise gallops, which suggest he belongs nowhere near his eight rivals in Wednesday's 9th race at 1100 metres.
The champion sprinter of 2015, POKER STAR carried his form over into 2016, allowed to return to open allowance on January 2 because he had jumped both overnight and open allowance to contest November's Caribbean Sprint the previous year.
After romping the open allowance St Catherine Cup in January, his dominance continued, winning February's Eileen Cliggott Memorial and May's Lotto Sprint, sandwiched by a mishap in April's Lady Geeta Trophy in which he decked Robert Halledeen at the off.
With five wins in his last six starts, POKER STAR went off at odds of 5-2 against stablemate SEEKING MY DREAM in the 1400-metre Eros Trophy in July but suffered a nine-length loss. It was afterwards revealed by trainer Wayne DaCosta that his sprint star had hurt himself at the start by slamming into the gate while being loaded.
He returned in September's None Such Sprint but wasn't himself, again losing by nine lengths, beaten by B UZZ NIGHTMARE, CAMPESINO and FRANFIELD at 1200 metres.
However, after eight months off, POKER STAR seems nicely freshened for his 2017 debut, working sweetly and better than most grade one horses, making him a banker on Wednesday.
DaCosta has noticeably added cheekpieces to the figure-eight and tongue tie, an equipment that has worked wonders for stablemate FEARLESS SAMURAI.
Note how all of POKER STAR's gallops have been in his new equipment 1:06.4 for five-and-a-half on May 4: six furlongs in 1:12.2 out the mile chute, April 28 and 1:06.1 on the round the previous week.
CRUCIAL APPEAL, TALENTED TONY K and CHACE THE GREAT are all quality horses but POKER STAR is back!