Mahogony sizzles in return to roots
MAHOGANY skirted Eros’ six-and-a-half furlong track record yesterday, clocking 1:16.1, to get within three-fifths of a second of the 27-year mark set by the country’s greatest sprinter ever.
Returning off a six-week break and reverting to middle-distance, after disappointing in consecutive route races, the St Leger and Jamaica Derby, MAHOGANY reproduced the devastating form, which had taken him close to the eight-and-half furlong track record in August.
Pushed to dispute the lead with GOD OF LOVE, who he quickly dismissed, MAHOGANY was afterwards taken on by recent shock winner, JAMAI RAJA, who got his dose of speed between the half-miler marker and two-furlong point.
MAHOGANY reeled off splits of 45.0 for the first half-mile with Dane Dawkins peeping between his legs, followed by 57.0 for five furlongs, and a never-before-seen 1:09.0 for six, leaving the field on another planet as he soared home by six lengths.
St Leger winner, NIPSTER, went second past JAMAI RAJA a furlong and a quarter out to fill the runner-up spot ahead of his topweight stablemate, SENTIENT, who motored through the field from near last at the top of the straight.
MAHOGANY’s devastating performance, despite carrying only 115lb, vaulted him into pole-position to challenge the likes of TOONA CILIATA and SIR ALTON for the country’s middle-distance crown whenever they cross paths.
Dawkins, whose confidence was seemingly shattered after a tearaway ride, which led to MAHOGANY being beaten by WOW WOW in July’s 2000 Guineas, enjoyed one of his better days since, logging a double by landing the Sunnyside Stakes for two-year-olds astride Gary Subratie’s NUCLEAR NOON.
On a day riddled with favourites, Dane Nelson rode consecutive prohibitive money-back winners for champion trainer Anthony Nunes, who continues to pull away from challenger Wayne DaCosta, whose 13-year run he snapped last season.
Nelson’s two-timer moved him to within four of leading rider, Anthony Thomas, who won aboard MAMACITA for DaCosta in the third event.
Apprentice Roger Hewitt and six-time former champion, Omar Walker, also rode two winners apiece.
Hewitt easily landed the fourth with Ryan Darby’s four-furlong specialist, ZI BEAST, and returned to make all with CHITU PRINCE for Marvin Campbell at the same trip in the fifth.
Walker opened the 11-race card with HIGHLY BLESS and later produced SOLID APPROACH with a strong stretch run to grab rank outsider OCEAN WAVE stealing home with apprentice Youville Pinnock.
Racing continues this afternoon with a nine-race card.