Bigdaddykool's the one
TOP handicappers BIGDADDYKOOL and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR square off in today's Prime Minister's Stakes at 10 furlongs - young turk versus ageing warrior, who seems to have returned to form after being humbled by his younger rival at the back end of last season.
The country's top two stayers are joined in the route race by Great Britain-bred KALAMATA, who ran disappointingly on her second local outing at seven furlongs. However, she had shown on her nine furlongs and 25 yards debut, a fighting second behind AWESOME DESTINY that her effective range should be beyond a mile.
The six-horse field also includes up-and-coming WILL IN CHARGE, who is nicely in at 49.5 kilos for his Grade 1 debut, and SOTOMAYOR, the three-year-old grey, thrown in at the deep end against older horses after disappointing his handlers in the classics.
BIGDADDYKOOL emerged the country's top stayer last season, improving rapidly as a three-year-old. He won the Governor's Cup before being dramatically disqualified from second in the Derby along with first-past-the-post FUTURE KING.
He returned to romp the St Leger, a devastating performance which immediately put him in a different class from his peers. Losing to United States-bred LONG RUNING TRAIN afterwards was a learning experience before he was awarded the Superstakes in the stewards' room.
A second-place run in the Diamond Mile was no disgrace behind SEEKING MY DREAM, followed by an easy win in the Harry Jackson Memorial, December races in which he beat PERFECT NEIGHBOUR.
PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, however, has returned this season a rejuvenated seven-year-old, getting the better of BIGDADDYKOOL in their lone meeting - a seven-furlong sprint behind HOUDINI'S MAGIC and CAMPESINO.
There is very little between their winning times at 1820 metres this season. PERFECT NEIGHBOUR clocked 1:54.3 to beat SUPERLUMINAL whereas BIGDADDYKOOL posted 1:55.0 in taking out BRAWN.
Improved WILL IN CHARGE could be the horse setting the pace with 49.5 kilos. KALAMATA remains a mystery, working well at exercise but proving a slouch on racedays.
One thing's for sure, BIGDADDYKOOL is pretty cool with the distance and has youth on his side against old rival PERFECT NEIGHBOUR.