horses racingMy usually reliable sources tell me this year’s Yearling Sale has hit rock bottom with only 86 entries.

EIGHTY-SIX? Christ on a crutch, that’s down 34% from 2016’s paltry 130 and a massive 60% from 2009’s 213 entries. It can no longer be swept under the carpet. Jamaica’s breeding industry is on life support; hasn’t many years left; and, when it dies, it could take racing down with it.

I’ve warned about this before. In a column headlined “Time for Financial Fundamentals” (Public Opinion; May 26, 2017) I wrote:

Breeders’ Bonuses, widely criticized as undeserving, are fundamentally important. It’s no secret the breeding industry is in deep financial trouble. Without breeders, racing would depend on imported horses, which is fiscally unsustainable. Right now, breeders are being kept afloat by yearling sales to Trinidadians and Barbadians, but that’s a double-edged sword as our best horseflesh is exported to bolster another country’s product while our racing and breeding standards plummet.

This can’t wait any longer. Government must first address the issue of how to best incentivize the industry by way of extending Breeders Bonuses to be paid to the Breeder of all winners at Caymanas Park then turn to the task of halting this insidious destruction of our Breeding industry by our Eastern Caribbean brothers and sisters especially from Trinidad.

Nobody can interfere with commerce and Trinidadians must be allowed to buy whatever foal or yearling they wish from Jamaican Breeders. However, as usual, government is going about it upside down.  Instead of imposing counter-productive import duties (possibly recently repealed) and GCT (still applied) on the importation of foreign bred horses, a significant export tax should be imposed on the removal of horses from Jamaica.  This tax should be dedicated to helping Breeders replenish depleted stocks while acting as an incentive to Trinis to buy yearlings but leave them here to be trained by Jamaicans; participate in Jamaican races; and eventually make their way onto our stud farms to boost Jamaican bloodstock.



  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 it was slow (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 average

Let’s try to squeeze in two day’s speed work for you:

September 16, 2017 [TV -0.2 per 200m (Rd); -4 (Force de Jour) +1 (Luna Emma) (str)]:

SIMPLY THE BEST (-8) was very impressive visually and fastest on the clock all day. Dwelt start; dueled with Gold Miner 800m; drew right off final 200m (R2; 4yonw3/OT; 1200m; TV -2) to win by 5l in 1:12.0! Her CT (1:12.2) is 2/5ths sec faster than Overnight Allowance standard.  She seems better than ever now and should improve again at shorter than 1200m.

LOOSE CANNON (-6) returned after 4 months off better than ever with the tongue strap/figure8 removed (R6; 3yonw3/Imported nw?; 1100m; TV -2); made all emphatically and held Bilingual (staying on) by 2 1/4l in 1:05.4! His CT (1:06.1) is 1/5th sec faster than nw3/OT and equals Overnight Allowance standard. He’s sure to improve on this and win at least an Overnight Allowance. One to keep on the right side!

ROYAL GIRL (-6) was imperious (R12; $180,000 claimers; 1200m; TV -2) winning by 13 1/2l in 1:15.0!  Her CT (1:15.2) is 2/5ths second faster than the standard for $250,000 claimers so she should win again.

September 23, 2017 [TV – 0.6 per 200m; +0 (Cheerleader) +2 (rest) str]

A smart 2yo in prospect made his debut as ANOTHER VIGOROUS (-10) a bay gelding by Legal Process out of the Go For Gin mare Miss Nickels confirmed excellent workouts by squandering rivals (R5; 2yomsw; 1100m; TV -3) by 3 1/4l from Commander Two in 1:05.4! The winner’s CT (1:06.2) is already only a fifth of a second off Overnight Allowance standard and equals the 3yonw3/OT average so he’s one to follow.  He’s a half brother to Henry Harrison Memorial Cup winner First K Boy and his dam sire won the Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track so he looks one for the Jamaica 2yo Stakes.

Commander Two (-7) produced a CT of 1:07.0 which is 4/5ths second faster than the maiden special weight standard.  Losses are only lent.

SIEMPRE BUENO (-7) returned to his best (R4; $450,000 Claimers; 1000m str; TV +2) clocking 0:58.2 on a slow track and winning by 13 lengths. His CT (0.58.0!) is 2 lengths faster than Open Allowance standard so he’s another to follow whenever he tackles the straight.

Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)

Since we last met, Defoe, selected by your humble scribe to win the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, continued our run of overseas betting successes by dutifully obliging at 13/8.

On August 18 (Always insist on “value”) I lamented that “my Stewards’ Cup fancy Projection was drawn on the “wrong” side for the third time in a row (very unlucky) and failed to place but isn’t to be forgotten for the big autumn handicap sprints.” Well, compensation is at hand as the Ayr Gold Cup was abandoned due to a miniscule piece of damaged turf (I can only surmise it must have ruined the bowlers’ run up?) and will now be run at Haydock on September 30.  If, as I expect, the ground at Haydock is not as soft as is the norm at Ayr, this is where PROJECTION can finally win the big handicap sprint for which he seems destined. If he doesn’t go there (probably because of soft ground) then he’s also entered in Ascot’s Totescoop 6 Challenge Cup (Heritage Handicap) over 7 furlongs on October 7. Get in early and often!

Another horse I’ve been following all season without reward is REMARKABLE who was also victimized by the draw in the Hunt Cup and International Stakes both at Ascot. So, I’ve been waiting for his perfect event, the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on September 30 (over a straight 9f) when lo and behold, to my consternation, he pops up in a 7f Handicap at Ascot on September 9 and wins at 10/1 while I watch in anguish without a financial interest.  Aaaaauuuugggghhh! Still I intend to have the last laugh tomorrow.

On Sunday, October 1, Europe’s premier race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, will be run at Chantilly instead of its regular home (Longchamp) which is undergoing renovations. The Arc returns home in 2018.  Most pundits have already handed first prize to brilliant filly Enable but I’ve a sneaking feeling we’re yet to see the best of ULYSSES who was beaten by Enable in soft ground at Ascot (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes) in July.

That defeat occurred on a stiff track and testing ground. On the flatter Chantilly track, if the going is good or better, I’m confident ULYSSES, who took another step forward on August 23, when beating 2,000 Guineas winner, Churchill, in the Group 1 Juddmonte International and who still has plenty left in the tank, can turn the tables on the filly and go on to complete a rare Arc/Breeders Cup Turf double.

One more Notebook horse for English Racing fans:

COURT OF JUSTICE [2yo b.c Dabirsim – Great News (Bering)] is a half-brother to several winners, including useful two-year-old 1 mile winner Galveston.  It looked like he’d be a winner on debut in a seven furlong minor event at Ascot on September 9 when making swift progress two furlongs out (after dwelling at the start and held up in last) and leading with a furlong to go. He was eventually caught by Fajjaj after tiring in the final 50 yards, but, having been strongly backed, he traveled like the best horse at the weights.  With improvement assured, he looks a cinch when next in town.

Good Luck! Colin McDonald Womens Jersey

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