Redemption awaits for Cup O Tea
NEW trainer Junior Small looks all set to rebound from his disappointment of watching CUP O TEA's number being taken down on New Year's Day, denying him his first career winner.
Small and his merry men ran on to the track after the eighth race on New Year's Day, accompanied by his fellow batchmates, recent graduates of the Jamaica Racing Commission's trainers' programme, convinced the newbies had taken a double after MONEYNEVERSLEEP had romped the sixth for Anthony Dixon.
However, the stewards didn't care how convincing CUP O TEA won after powering her way to victory over FLYING MACHINE at 1500 metres, nor did it matter to them that, as many punters argued, the horse hindered a furlong out, PAPA ALBERT, was "a dead horse", weakening after leading in tearaway fashion.
CUP O TEA's number was taken down because PAPA ALBERT, who finished sixth, after being snatched up by Dick Cardenas, was denied, in the stewards' opinion, a higher finishing position in the nine-horse field.
Small, who took one of the toughest blows in racing with the second starter of his career, has paid his due early and should reap dividend in tomorrow's fifth race at 1300 metres.
Though facing a game and veteran claimer, ZACKONTHEATTACK, the race is set-up nicely for CUP O TEA to mow down rivals inside the last half-furlong.
ZACKONTHEATTACK will carry 57.0 kilos, an overconfident decision by the seven-year-old gelding's connections, who grabbed him on a $450,000 claim tag as a winner on December 20. A winner of three of his last four races, ZACKONTHEATTACK changes hands almost after every race in which he competes.
However, in two of his last three wins, he beat the same horse twice, TARANIS, a renowned plodder. His other victory was against ST BERNARD, a $180,000 claimer, who has been campaigning on a $250,000 tag.
Between beating TARANIS, ZACKONTHEATTACK's Achilles Heel was exposed at 1200 metres on December 2 when he got into a speed duel with BRAVE PROSPECT and was nailed at the wire by EL CLENTE closing from off the pace.
With MEET JUSTIN and possibly CRUISING MOTION to keep ZACKONTHEATTACK honest on the lead, super-fit CUP O TEA, who beat a genuine field of $450,000 claimers, should be strongest in the stretch run.
CUP O TEA was in great shape on New Year's Day and returns with only 52.0 kilograms, 11lb lighter than ZACKONTHEAATACK.