Resurgent Orpheus enjoying overnight allowance
ORPHEUS gave away 15lb to improved MARVELLOUS MARVA and paid the price in the Gladiator Trophy a month ago, going down by a length and three-quarter to Philip Feanny's grey at 1400 metres, touched off on the line for second by stablemate SOY EL SENOR, who he also allowed weight - all of 11lb.
The get-out-of-jail card has fallen into ORPHEUS' lap this Saturday, a drop in class from open to overnight allowance, a level which he beat on September 23 when closing fast to overhaul MONEY MAGNET at 1200 metres - his third run off a 13-month lay-up.
Having graduated to open allowance immediately after that win, ORPHEUS, barely back to himself, was thrown to the lions, taking on the likes of SHE'S A MANEATER in the Fontainbleu Trophy, followed by back-to-back races in grade one - the Gold Cup and Caribbean Sprint.
What those runs did, however, was to make ORPHEUS race-fit, which he confirmed with a flying third in an open allowance at 1000 metres straight behind stablemate SIEMPRE BUENO and MONEY MAGNET on November 25.
ORPHEUS' next race, on December 16, was also well short of his best, a 1200-metre open allowance in which he was narrowly beaten by younger and speedier MONEY MAGNET.
When he finally got a suitable distance in the Gladiator Trophy, ORPHEUS was forced to carry the pace with topweight 57.0 kilos, allowing his main rivals a combined 42lb.
Shane Ellis put the five-year-old in front but was hounded from the start by MARVELLOUS MARVA and BLUE DIXIE, who kept at him until he gave way approaching the final half-furlong.
Game as ever, ORPHEUS rallied to outfinish BLUE DIXIE, who had attacked as a team with MARVELLOUS MARVA, but was nipped for second on the line by SOY EL SENOR, who was not involved in the early fractions and was, thus, stronger at the finish.
Reporting down in class among overnight allowance, ORPHEUS' class makes him the horse to beat, even with topweight 57.0 kilos. Wayne DaCosta's LOTTERY TICKET is genuine to the core but she's too close in the handicaps, 55.0 kilos, to chase and outfinish ORPHEUS, who will be the controlling speed.