The Maneater or the Bird?

A great time was had by all on Diamond Mile Day when She’s A Maneater silenced all naysayers and cemented an unparalleled 17th Trainers’ Championship for living legend Wayne DaCosta.
She didn’t just win; she discombobulated a field of the best horses in training with a remarkable turn of foot that saw her clearing away to score by over 6 lengths. As might be said in South East St Mary, “Argument Dunn!”
It didn’t take long for the discussions to begin regarding whether she’s the best filly ever to race in Jamaica. She has definitely eclipsed the great Hot Line who defeated older horses in an unbeaten 2 year old career (5 starts). As a 3 year old, in 1976, she equaled None Such’s record of eight consecutive wins (actually won nine but was disqualified by the stewards after her ninth win) in a stellar campaign that included successes in the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup. As a 4 year old she won three races including under the welterweight of 140 lbs in the Ivan Delevante Cup. After one race as a 5 year old, which she won, she was retired to stud.
1984’s flying filly, Thornbird, also trained by Wayne DaCosta, was another kettle of fish entirely. As a 2 year old in 1983, she equalled the 5 ½ furlong track record on debut, a feat as yet unequalled. On her second start, she shattered the same track record.
One of the best-bred fillies ever to run at Caymanas Park, Thornbird was by Tableland out of the Jimmy Reppin mare, Jules. Her sire, Tableland, was a son of USA racing legend, Round Table, 1958 Horse of the Year in America, who won eleven consecutive Stakes races (many later becoming Grade 1 races) in California as a 3 year old in 1957 and then won an astonishing number of races in a stupendous 4 year old career that ended with him capturing every racing award available then winning 9 of 14 starts as a five year old). Thornbird’s dam sire, Jimmy Reppin, bred in Great Britain, was 3rd to Sir Ivor in the 1968 English 2,000 Guineas before winning seven Group 1 races including the Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
So, Thornbird was a perfect mix of American and British top class bloodlines and she showed it on the track winning the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Derby under one of the best classic rides seen locally from the great Emelio Rodriquez. She went on to give Jamaica her highest placing in the Caribbean Classic, hitting the front a furlong out and succumbing by less than 2l into 4th place despite Rodriquez riding with overweight.
No question to my mind that Thornbird was the better of the two, not only for her Caribbean Classic placing, but because she ran in an era before buyers from Trinidad and Tobago were permitted to consistently export our best bloodstock without penalty, thus depleting our own product and watering down the opposition faced by She’s A Maneater.
1. Clocked-In
It’s time for our regular review of local performances based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (a calculation of the effect of track conditions on official times to arrive at “real” or “corrected” times); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.
Let’s squeeze in two race days as usual:
November 25, 2017 [TV -0.5/200m (Rd) -2 (straight)]
Golden Bullet (-15) was too good for the grade (Race 5; $350,000 claimers; 1500m; TV-4) winning by 10 1/2l in 1:32.3! His CT (1:33.2) is only 1/5th second slower than Overnight Allowance standard but is good enough to win any claiming race.
Patriarch (-8) had things his own way (Race 10; 2yo Graded Stakes; 1400m; TV-3 ½) but was visually impressive clearing right away final furlong by 6 lengths from notebook horse Commander Two in 1:25.3. His CT (1:26.1’) already equals the Overnight Allowance standard.
Siempre Bueno (-7) confirmed he’ll always be best over 1000m (straight) (Race 7; Open Allowance; 1000m straight; TV-2) getting home by a neck from Money Magnet (-7) with Orpheus (-6) 3rd and Simply the Best (- 5 ½) 4th. The race CT (0.57.2) is good enough to win Graded Stakes races but the 4th will always be best on the round at the minimum trip.
December 2, 2017 [TV – 0.6 per 200m; Diamond Mile Day)
Papa Albert (-6) and My Way (-9) took both divisions of the 4yonw3 apart (Races 3 and 5; 110m; TV-3) but it was the latter (1:05.4; CT 1:06.2) who impressed more with a facile 6 lengths win. His CT is 4 lengths better than 4yonw3/0T and only a tick slower than Overnight Allowance standard. He must be kept on the right side.
Papa Albert’s CT (1:07.0) is only 1/5th second faster than the 4yonw3/OT standard but he’s lightly-raced, unexposed and on the upgrade so he’s a serious contender when next in town. His CT will win any claiming race.
Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
Theo’s Charm, advised last time for November 25’s listed Newton Novices managed a creditable third at 20/1 thus rewarding each way backers handsomely while Total Recall tipped up as “a snip” for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase on December 2 overcame late trouble in running to win at the fancy price of 5/1. In addition, notebook horse Jameson was ½l second on December 1 at 8/1. So readers are on a roll.
On Saturday, December 16, Cheltenham hoists the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 2 ½ miles and it presents Willie Mullins’ soft ground specialist Acapella Bourgeois with a perfect opportunity to get back on the winning trail after falling on re-appearance at Navan on November 26. He’s an uncomplicated type who should get a good lead and grind them into the ground once the going comes in his favour.
Finally, a notebook horse for National Hunt English Racing fans:
Oxwich Bay [5 b.g Westerner – Rose De Beaufai (Solon)] started the season on a workable handicap mark (115) and has twice run with credit despite finding one better each time. On November 17 (Cheltenham) last time, he found only in-form Magic Dancer too strong in a 2m novices’ handicap hurdle, making headway off the home turn to chase the impressive winner. It’s only a matter of time before Oxwich Bay supplements his Sedgefield bumper success 12 months ago.
Good Luck!

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