No stopping Will In Charge
WILL IN CHARGE is working like a machine but will have to prove himself with topweight 126lb, giving away 10lb to PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, one of the best two-turn horses in the country, in Saturday's 10-furlong Prime Minister's Stakes.
Among the favourites floored by shock winner HOUDINI'S MAGIC in the nine-furlong Viceroy Trophy on June 30, WILL IN CHARGE is back, seeking redemption, similar to SHE'S A MANEATER, who had stumbled badly at the start of the event, and subsequently returned to outclass rivals in the Eros Trophy a month later.
A number of factors conspired against WILL IN CHARGE on June 30, Jamaica Derby Day, when going for a hat-trick of grade one victories in the Viceroy Trophy after lashing champion trainer Wayne DaCosta Horse of the Year winners, SHE'S A MANEATER and SEEKING MY DREAM, in consecutive races.
First, he turned out to be the pursuer, having to chase HOUDINI'S MAGIC, who, most figured would have been trying to keep the race honest for stablemate BIGDADDYKOOL in what was anticipated to be a three-way showdown involving SHE'S A MANEATER.
At the start, SHE'S A MANEATER went down, almost to her knees, and was tailed off, even behind BIGDADDYKOOL after the first five furlongs. The turn of events left WILL IN CHARGE, carrying 122lb, chasing HOUDINI'S MAGIC, with jockey Robert Halledeen not wanting to have a go too early at what he clearly thought was a rabbit.
Running loose on the lead, HOUDINI'S MAGIC not only benefited from the handicaps and an unsuspecting pursuer, but also a racing surface that was graded three days earlier and made lightning fast, resulting in a six-furlong split of 1:10.3 and, possibly, the fastest mile split, 1:35.4, recorded at Caymanas Park in a long while.
The effort took its toll and WILL IN CHARGE weakened inside the last furlong, giving way to stablemates DONTAE and BIGDADDYKOOL.
Since then, trainer Robert Pearson has done the right thing, giving WILL IN CHARGE two months off, bringing him back freshened with solid workouts, starting with five and a half furlongs, a bullet six in 1:12.3, topped off by seven in 1:27.3 on Sunday.
Though he's carrying the big weight, WILL IN CHARGE has proven himself among the best three in the country and should hold PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who, though showing his usual pluck to wear down LIGHTNING LILY a week and a half ago, at nine furlongs and 25 yards, is not the horse of a year or two ago.