Trainer Harold Chadee saddled the first two pass the post in Saturday’s feature event, the Nursery Stakes, over 1,000 metres on the main track at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. However, it was the outsider in the five-horse field Lion Guard which scored at odds of 16-1 by a nose from his stable mate Whiskey Peddler.
The race was robbed of some interest as champion trainer John O’Brien withdrew the expected favourite With Honors from the main event leaving five starters.
The Harold Chadee-trained colt Whiskey Peddler was installed as the 1-2 favourite with the O’Brien pair of Game Changer and Passionate well supported in the betting.
When the starter sent the five-horse field on their way, Lion Guard and Jovica Boodramsing was the first to show from Whiskey Peddler with Zanza following in third with Game Changer in fourth with Passionate, the early backmarker.
Going to far turn, Whiskey Peddler held a length advantage from Lion Guard with Game Changer moving in third as Zanza came under pressure as Passionate began to close up on the outside.
Coming to the corner Whiskey Peddler held a good one and a half length advantage from Lion Guard. There was a three length gap to the duelling pair of Passionate and Game Changer.
However, with 100m to race, Jovika Boodramsing cajoled another effort from Lion Guard a and the colt began to close on the tiring leader Whiskey Peddler.
The pair battled to the line with Lion Guard putting his nose in front at the line. Lion Guard registered the time of the 1:01.2 for the trip giving owner Dave Chadee the opportunity to lead in the first juvenile winner of the season.
In the co-feature events,the John O’Brien-trained Making Headlines was the headline news yet again winning impressively.
Punters made General JN the favourite to win but he could not stop his stable companion who has turned the corner.
From the off, Early Bird and Affirmative set off to make all the running but Early Bird showed that he was the Champion sprinter of 2019 and put away his rival easily coming to the 500m point when General JN began to close quickly on the inside.
But no sooner had the horses entered the straight with General JN getting the run through at the rail and going on, Brian Boodramsing unleashed Making Headlines in the middle of the track and the Ruthven Smith-owned four-year-old colt quickened up impressively to put the race to bed.
He pulled clear of Early Bird which ran a blinder after his lay-off in March with General JN back in third. The 7-2 winner produced a time of 1:12 for the trip.
Champion trainer O’Brien and champion jockey Brian Harding were the stars of the day with three wins. They combined to win with Wang Chung, Making Headlines and News Flash.