Walcott rises above the rest Cheeseman is champion trainer
Stories by Lindon Yarde
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.)
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)