The Warrior a safe banker
TRAINERS celebrate their own this Saturday, the United Racehorse Trainers Association of Jamaica (URTAJ) staging its flagship trophy race as well as the 1700-metre Harry Parsard, an overnight allowance in honour of the late veteran trainer, an executive of the association, who had a penchant for naming his horses after trains.
Fitznahum Williams' WESTERN WARRIOR is the lone soldier against two runners from Anthony Nunes' barn and a trio of Gary Subratie horses, going 1820 metres in the URTAJ Trophy. However, WESTERN WARRIOR's searing speed around the bends clearly separates him from his five rivals, all of whom will stay the distance but doesn't have his pace.
WESTERN WARRIOR was only caught at the wire, going 1820 metres in his last race, beaten a neck by stablemate KALAMATA, a United Kingdom importee, who runs all day and night.
That afternoon, WESTERN WARRIOR had Nunes' DONTAE and Subratie's pair, SUBBIE and BIBLICAL LEGEND, behind him - none posing a threat for the entire trip.
Though she wasn't in the KALAMATA race, Nunes' United States-bred FOLLOW BACK A ME has followed back a WESTERN WARRIOR on two occasions going a mile, getting no closer than nine lengths on either occasion, races in which Williams' runner had placed second.
Wesley Henry has been retained to partner WESTERN WARRIOR at 51.0 kilos after the colt's near miss at the same weight against KALAMATA on October 21.
Meanwhile, the Harry Parsard, on paper, is definitely a tougher affair to decipher, especially a quintet of runners drawn alongside each other, posts four to eight - UNCLE TAF, JAMAI RAJA, IAN LINKS, MARVELLOUS MARVA and United States-bred BLUE DIXIE.
Despite their resumes, especially UNCLE TAF, JAMAI RAJA and BLUE DIXIE, Gary Griffith's SHINING LIGHT has the best recent form to recommend and a great draw to boot.
Breaking widest at postposition 12, SHINING LIGHT's October 28 run behind BILINGUAL , beaten two-and-three-quarter lengths, going a mile, which was run in 1:37.4, is hard to ignore - even with topweight 57.0 kilos.
That run was no fluke, he had BLUE DIXIE behind him and had hinted, in his previous race, that he was back to form by finishing third in a 1200-metre sprint, three lengths off SIEMPRE BUENO, who won in 1:11.2.