Wal­cott rises above the rest Cheese­man is cham­pion trainer

Sto­ries by Lin­don Yarde

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

Rickey Wal­cott is now a two-time Bar­ba­dos cham­pion jockey.

The Brit­tons Hill na­tive re­pelled his challenger Rasheed Hughes on Box­ing Day as he elec­tri­fied rac­ing en­thu­si­asts with a hat-trick.

Be­fore a large crowd at the Gar­ri­son Sa­van­nah, Wal­cott dis­played im­pec­ca­ble judg­ment as he put the mat­ter to rest. Lead­ing Hughes 27-26 at the start of Di­a­monds In­ter­na­tional/crown of Light Box­ing Day at the Races Race­card, Wal­cott won race three (the Box­ing Day Ju­ve­nile Open Con­di­tion Race) with Inspired Ad­ven­ture.

This was fol­lowed by wins in race four (the 1 800 me­tres Di­a­monds In­ter­na­tional / Vena D’ Amore Hand­i­cap astride Zip Code, be­fore seal­ing the deal on Stealin in race five (the Box­ing Day Nurs­ery Tro­phy Al­lot­ted Weights). Both races three and five were con­tested over 1 570 me­tres.

As a horse­man, Wal­cott rose above all chal­lenges as those wins helped to move his year’s earn­ings to $472 258 with 30 wins from 117 mounts; achiev­ing a 26 wins per­cent­age. He also recorded another hat-trick on day three of the sea­son, win­ning astride Watch That Birdie, Stealin and For­saken One.

Wal­cott’s most mem­o­rable rides this year were with Wild Cat Tea, which won the Grade I Sandy Lane Spa Sprint over 1 100 me­tres, and a Grade I Bar­ba­dos Guineas vic­tory astride Fleurette. His third-sea­son re­turns were 10 wins with earn­ings of $137 962.

Hughes, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, put up a fight but was rel­e­gated to the run­ners-up po­si­tion with earn­ings of $430 735 through 28 wins along with a win per­cent­age of 18.5 from 151 rides. He found his mo­men­tum late on the fi­nal day’s card with a brace start­ing in race six with Ameash fol­lowed by suc­cess in the penul­ti­mate race, num­ber nine, with

Pic­ture by Ken­more By­noe.)

Danny Boy.

Be­tween those wins, he went ag­o­nis­ingly close when Miss Megyn fin­ished sec­ond be­fore suf­fer­ing a ma­jor let­down with rag­ing favourite In­frared in the featured Di­a­mond In­ter­na­tional / Crown Of Light Box­ing Day Stakes and Tro­phy – a race that saw his ti­tle hopes dis­ap­pear.

Hughes stand­out race for the year was win­ning the Grade 1 Mid­sum­mer Cre­ole Clas­sic with Oberoi. He earned third-sea­son re­turns of $78, 403 with four trips to the winner’s en­clo­sure.

The race for third was much closer with jockey Jalon Sa­muel edg­ing out over­all cham­pion ap­pren­tice Jarelle Beck­les, who also emerged with third­sea­son hon­ours. A Beck­les brace with Se­b­coe and Java­lier, sup­ported by four sec­ond-place fin­ishes, saw the sec­ond place tiebreaker come into the equa­tion.

Sa­muel, who spent Box­ing Day at Santa Rosa Park in Arima, Trinidad, pre­vailed 15 times to Beck­les’ 14. Over­all, Sa­muel’s mounts earned $456 937 for a win per­cent­age of 18, hav­ing mounted 99 horses. He then went win­less in the third sea­son, earn­ing a mere $3 720.

Beck­les’ mounts earned $223 612 – a win per­cent­age of 18 off 99 track ap­pear­ances. In the just con­cluded sea­son, his eight vic­to­ries tied him for most wins with Wal­cott.

How­ever, as the sea­son’s most suc­cess­ful jockey, like Sa­muel did against him, he won the sec­ond place tiebreaker over Wal­cott 4-2, while his mounts earned $107 922. He picked up from the sec­ond sea­son by win­ning four races on open­ing day with Peru­vian, Zip Code, Qual­ity Star and Volde­mort. But­ter­fly stormed away with the Massy United In­sur­ance Bar­ba­dos Derby over 2 000 me­tres to bring alive the Spring­head out­fit. All told they amassed $272 714 at a win per­cent­age of 9 in­clu­sive of 11 wins from 123 starters.

Liver­pool man­ager Juer­gen Klopp has urged sup­port­ers to “for­get about the price tag” for the club’s record sign­ing Vir­gil van Dijk and focus on the qual­i­ties of the Dutch in­ter­na­tional.

Van Dijk will ar­rive at An­field from Southamp­ton at the start of next month af­ter the clubs agreed a re­ported 75 mil­lion pound fee that would make him the world’s most ex­pen­sive de­fender.

The sign­ing of the 26-year-old cen­tre back is ex­pected to offer sta­bil­ity to a Liver­pool de­fen­sive line that has come in for heavy crit­i­cism this sea­son.

“Qual­ity ... That’s why we got him, that’s why we were in­ter­ested in him,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“I can imag­ine peo­ple think ‘wow’ what a num­ber it is. But for me it is not really in­ter­est­ing. We don’t make the prices, the mar­ket is mak­ing the prices. The first thing all Liver­pool sup­port­ers should for­get is the price tag.

“We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the qual­ity, the men­tal­ity, the char­ac­ter.”

Liver­pool play two Premier League fix­tures in the space of 48 hours when they host Le­ices­ter City on Satur­day and then travel to Burn­ley on New Year’s Day.

They featured in a sim­i­lar quick­fire dou­ble-header dur­ing fes­tive pe­riod last sea­son, when they beat Manch­ester City but could only man­age a draw against Sun­der­land.

“You can­not learn from it, you only learn to ac­cept it,” Klopp told liv­er­poolfc.com, re­fer­ring to the fix­ture con­ges­tion.

“Now the focus is on Le­ices­ter. We are pre­pared for that game, for sure, and then we will see.”

Liver­pool are fourth in the league ta­ble with 38 points from 20 matches. Le­ices­ter are eighth on 27 points. (Reuters)

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