Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Nunes, DaCosta kick off weekend battle today

Published:Friday | November 8, 2019 | 12:48 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

LEADER Anthony Nunes and defending champion Wayne DaCosta are set to trade punches with 27 starters on this afternoon’s 11-race card, heading into tomorrow’s Diamond Mile meet with $11m separating them atop the trainers’ standings.

Nunes has 14 runners on today’s programme, led by EARN YOUR STRIPES in the 10th, Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission Stakes, which DaCosta has mobbed with five starters, but can do little to stop his rival’s classic-placed colt.

EARN YOUR STRIPES gets the ideal distance required by a Nuclear Wayne-Brown Sugar offspring, seven furlongs, after being dragged by improved ROY ROGERS and outfinished by a handicapped SEBASTIAN at nine furlongs and 25 yards last time out.

Meanwhile, DaCosta, appears to have the second and third races, six-and-a-half furlong events for two-year-olds, locked with imported debutant, UNCLE POLLY, and a Natural Selection-Geisha’s Art colt, KING ARTHUR, respectively, eyeing close to $1m in stakes with other stablemates expected to pick up purse monies from both races.

Having acquired BIG BLACK NATION from the claim box for $250,000 as a winner on October 12, DaCosta has returned the six-year-old gelding to the same level, going five furlongs straight in the sixth, calling in apprentice Raddesh Roman to slip four pounds, riding at 119lb.

Seventh event

Whereas BIG BLACK NATION should bring in $327,600 for the champion trainer, in addition to other runners, who could round off his day at approximately $1.5m, Nunes’ firepower starts from the seventh event, which he has loaded with four starters, including LATAPY, taking on Paul Charlton’s imported ALHAMDULILLAH, ironically the mount of Omar Walker, DaCosta’s go-to jockey.

Though LATAPY, an American Dance-Honeymoon Bay colt will be happier at a mile after being run off his legs by upsetter EL GRINGO’s blitzkrieg of speed going a half-furlong shorter on October 12, and has finished ahead of ALHAMDULILLAH in three of the American’s last four outings, a change of equipment by Charlton last time out must be noted.

Fitted with blinkers at five furlongs straight, ALHAMDULILLAH ran on into second place behind DaCosta’s speedster, AMERICAN INVADER, beaten five lengths in a fast 58.1, the best he has stayed on in four starts.

Whereas the worst LATAPY should finish is second should ALHAMDULILLAH slip him, Nunes has a Gatlin of eight runners aimed at DaCosta, from the eighth to 10th event, led by Saturday’s winner, PRINCE CHARLES, and EARN YOUR STRIPES in the seven-furlong Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission Stakes at seven furlongs, eyeing at least a total $1.5m, which would leave them just about square at day’s end.

PRINCE CHARLES won like an out-of-class horse on Saturday, clocking 59.1 at five furlongs round, motoring from near the back of the 11-horse field after the first furlong to collar and sweep byh speedy TREVOR’S CHOICE a half-furlong out, suggesting he should stay the six-and-a-half furlongs of the Supreme Ventures Diamond Sprint Trophy in a more relaxed pace.

ainsley.walters@gleanerjm.com