Siempre Bueno returns for Ahwhofah Sprint
BACK-TO-FORM SIEMPRE BUENO returns to the round course for the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years, facing nine rivals in Saturday's 1200-metre Ahwhofah Sprint, with a question sign hovering around his ability to safely navigate the bends.
Though he has raced four times since returning going from a two-year lay-up, trainer Anthony Nunes has confined SIEMPRE BUENO to five furlongs straight, watching his former classic contender winning twice, the last being an 11-length romp in 58.2, a cheap optional claiming race open to non-winners-of-five. SIEMPRE BUENO made light work of SUPERTRONICS and SMOKEY TOPAZ, unlike his previous race when he narrowly lost to United States-bred speedster FORCE DE JOUR in overnight allowance.
Back among overnight allowance company, SIEMPRE BUENO shares topweight 57.0 kilos with TRADITIONAL PRINCE, giving weight to the likes of DANCING QUEEN (52.5), BIRDIE MY LOVE (48.0), SHINING (54.5), ZEPHYR (53.0) and SIMPLY THE BEST (50.0), that's a 16lb advantage to one of his most dangerous opponents in the quick sprint.
SIMPLY THE BEST reports off a strong win at 1200 metres, a superb 1:12.0, beating non-winners-of-four on what was admittedly a fast track on September 16. Another hot horse in the race is DANCING QUEEN, who recovered from a horrible start with Dick Cardenas on September 23, tailed off entering the lane at 1200 metres, but motored over the final furlong to finish fourth, a length-and-a-half behind ORPHEUS, who beat TRADITIONAL PRINCE and MONEY MAGNET in a three-way photo.
Considering that MONEY MAGNET returned October 7 to beat ZEPHYR in 1:06.0 at 1100 metres, DANCING QUEEN, who was scratched out of that race, must be a dangerous contender, along with ZEPHYR, with both getting weight from SIEMPRE BUENO.
However, Nunes has been extremely patient with five-year-old SIEMPRE BUENO, turning out the chestnut horse after he broke down in the 2015 Jamaica Derby won by SEEKING MY DREAM with whom he had epic clashes as a three-year-old, even costing the two-time Horse of the Year a Governor's Cup victory by dictating the pace well into the stretch run, after narrowly losing to his rival in their 1820-metre prep race the previous month.
There is nothing in the exercise lines to suggest SIEMPRE is anywhere near back to his best. However, he does not need to be at his best against a bunch of mainly four-year-olds who are yet to make an impact past overnight allowance. For Nunes to have chosen to have SIEMPRE BUENO tackle the round course, he must be convinced that his charge is ready. Jockey Dick Cardenas certainly is. He has won 15 races in the one month since he has returned to Caymanas Park, not going a meet without visiting the winners' enclosure.