The little boy had heard stories of Caymanas Park’s early days when Jockeys vying for the lead at the three furlong pole were alert for the shout of the Master himself, the great Arthur Jones. “Dog coming!” Jones would yell, “Rent due!” This was to signal younger jocks ahead to ease off the rail and let “Dog” through so that this month’s rent cheque could be secured. They quickly complied.
He was fascinated by these tales as he was of stories of Tewfik Ziadie, so prolific in the fertility stakes that he sired over 15 children and yet still adopted three more. When asked by the little boy’s grandmother why, Tewfik gently pointed out there was no real difference between 15 and 18 and emphasized the point as the children would all be bathed in a huge communal trough in the backyard.
Tewfik was the first Ziadie to come to Jamaica and all Ziadies alive today can trace their ancestry back to his hyperactive loins. He sired J.W. “Lantern” Ziadie, who won 183 races and earned his nickname by frequently bringing his “gambling” horses to the exercise track so early he needed a lantern to see them work; and the brilliant Millard Ziadie, often Champion Trainer in Venezuela. His grandson Ralph Ziadie, who owned and trained the 1970 Derby winner, Royal Crest (Albino Ubidia up), became many times Champion Trainer at Calder; an inductee into Calder Race Track’s Hall of Fame; and belatedly into our own.
Another grandson, Jimmy Ziadie (of Star Wars fame), was a shrewd and competent trainer with an unfortunate and ultimately destructive lifestyle.
Tewfik himself, no slouch as an owner/trainer in the mould of today’s Richard Azan, was famous for naming his horses to end with “deen”. He once won two long distance races on the same day at Marley racecourse with Zackieldeen and had the distinction of owning and training a colt named Sunnydeen (incorrectly listed in issues of the Track & Pools as Sunny Dene) who, ridden by Augustus “Gussie” Douglas in 1960, was the winner of the second Derby run at Caymanas Park.
These were the stories the little boy had in his head as he watched the races on JBC-TV in those halcyon days and then became an addict to the radio commentaries when the sport’s short-lived period on TV ended. The names of the characters had changed but the intrigue remained the same. Those were the days of Saumarez, Spred Satin, Kandahar, Bonnie Blue Flag, L’amour and Chevalier. The battles between Laurie Silvera and Allan Evans “Billy” Williams were monumental. Jockeys like Winston “Bulldozer” Ellis (whose riding style was remarkably similar to Trevor Simpson’s), Kenneth “Kiddie” Mattis, Donald Andrade, Neville Cousley and Trevor McKenzie dominated the sport. You could literally see the sparks fly through the television when a young Sammy “Shuffler” Heslop produced one of his patented late runs on the wide outside to snatch the spoils within shades of the wire.
Part III in a fortnight.
This regular review of local performances is 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” a slow track (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade standard.
As predicted in June 28’s issue, Mr. Universe — written up as “continuing his recently progressive profile by slamming a good field by 11 lengths” and producing a CT “a second faster than Grade 1 standard so he’s on track for the Caribbean Sprint Championship” — continued in that vein on Emancipation Day with a facile win in a Grade 2 Open Allowance.
Meanwhile, July 13’s prediction that Hilly’s Halo had, on June 30 produced a CT “3/5ths second faster than Grade 1 standard so she’s to be followed all the way to the top” was emphasized by her repeat win on July 28 with a CT only 1/5th second slower than Grade 1 standard.
Let’s see what’s happened since we last met:
July 28, 2018 [TV +0.9 per 200m (Rd); +3(str)]
She’s A Maneater (-1) broke cleanly this time and made no mistake (Race 8; 3yo+ Graded Stakes; 1400m; TV+6) beating Money Magnet (+4’) and Siempre Bueno (+5’) by 5½/6½ lengths! Her CT (1:23.2) is seven lengths better than Grade 1 standard so she’s nailed on for another Diamond Mile success. The 2nd (CT 1:24.1’) and 3rd (CT 1:24.2’) also bettered the Grade 1 standard (1:24.4). The 3rd proved he’s effective at 1400m so has more options than were previously apparent.
August 1, 2018 [TV+0.6 per 200m (Rd); +7 (str)]
Mr. Universe (-5) beat Another Bullet (+0’) by 5½ lengths (Race 7; Open Allowance; 1100m; TV+3) in 1:05.0 (CT 1:04.2). The 2nd’s CT is 2½ lengths better than Open Allowance standard so he can win at this level.
Diferent Generation (-1) surprised by coming from behind (Race 5; $350,000 claimers; 1400m; TV+4) to stay on determinedly to beat Rising Bop (+1) by 2 lengths with the pair 6 lengths clear. The winner’s CT (1:27.4) is 3/5ths second faster than $450,000 claimers while the 2nd (1:28.1) is 3/5ths second faster than this grade. Both can be found suitable spots.
They finished in a heap in the nightpan (Race 10; 3yonw2; 1100m; TV+3) but the clock proves the form better than that. The winner Dee Danger (-1) clocked 1:07.4 (CT 1:07.1) which is a tick slower than nw3 but, unexposed and lightly raced, there’s likely more to come from him. The 2nd, Locomotive (-0’) and 3rd Princess Zella (-0) produced CTs 4/5ths second faster than nw2 so compensation awaits both.
Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
By the time this is published, the first round of 2018’s PGA Championship will be over. Still, readers can profit from an analysis of the Bellerive course and those likely to relish the stern test that characterizes every Major.
Bellerive is a ball strikers’ course with large undulating greens akin to Augusta so, if you can’t putt, forget it. Three of the best ball strikers (i.e accurate from tee to green) are in my short list and they are Jordan Spieth (whose week-to-week form has been below his usual lofty heights but who always turns up at the Majors); Jason Day [won this event in 2015 (Whistling Straits); 2nd 2016 (Baltusrol); and T9 last year (Quail Hollow)]; and Webb Simpson [former U.S. Open Champion (2012, Olympic Club) 2018 Players’ champion whose form in this year’s Majors has been impeccable (T20, Masters; T10, U.S. Open; T12, The Open].
Both Jason (T17, The Open; T10, WGC International at Firestone) and Webb (T12, The Open; T24 WGC) have been in terrific form but, although Jason’s greater suitability to the course makes him an obvious choice, the value must lie in backing Webb Simpson.
In tomorrow’s English Racing, Ascot hosts horse-racing’s attempt to emulate the Ryder Cup. It’s a gimmick “team” event with four “teams” of jockeys (Great Britain & Ireland; Europe; Rest of the World; and “The Girls”) competing with rides decided by lot. The buzz in England surrounds the “defection” of Frankie Dettori to captain the European team, which only goes to prove Brexit hype to be hypocritical nonsense.
Frankie, an Italian immigrant, clearly has the pedigree and success to be claimed as “British”. This may become a storm in a teacup as Frankie likely won’t be able to compete at Ascot since he’ll probably be required to ride at Haydock or Newmarket for his “Guvnor” John Gosden.
At Ascot, old friend Via Serendipity would be an attractive flutter in the Shergar Mile if not balloted out while George Of Hearts is an interesting entry in the sprint having registered his only win at six furlongs before being tried at further. Frankie’s likely rides at Newmarket could include Shambolic (1400GMT); and Pennywhistle (Group 3 Sweet Solera; 1545GMT); or, at Haydock, Crossed Baton/Muntahaa (Group 3 Rose of Lancaster; 1505); and Pouvoir Magique (1540GMT).
Finally, a notebook horse for the flat:
Sleeping Lion [3 ch.c Teofilo – Flame of Hestia (Giant’s Causeway)] has taken a while to come to hand but improves with each run this season. His latest win on handicap debut (Newbury) established him as a horse to follow. He only won by three-quarters of a length but this only served to disguise his superiority over the well handicapped second and third. He was denied a clear run over two furlongs out; had to switch but quickened up well to win with plenty in hand. Up 5 lbs, he lost no marks when one length 3rd of 8 to Koeman at Ascot and it seems certain we’ve not seen the best of him. A fast run race on quick ground should suit him best.