Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Duke to rule supreme in Najair Memorial Trophy

- BY RUDDY ALLEN Staff reporter ruddya@jamaicaobs­erver.com

DUKE appears to be the prime candidate to take home the $1.25-million Vassel “Jolly Man” Najair Memorial Trophy, the feature race at Caymanas Park today, with the conditions and distance suiting his style of running.

Duke is a steady run-on sprinter who returns to competitiv­e racing after a roughly four-month layoff, having been carefully prepared for this event by his trainer Gary Subratie. With moderate front-end speed expected, this trophy race is ideal for a come-from-behind speedster like Duke.

Duke last raced on June 17 in the Open Allowance level over seven furlongs (1,400m) when he finished fourth by over 14 lengths behind Runaway Algo, Money Monster, and Sistren Treasure. If any of those three runners mentioned were present here then this wouldn’t be a race — and as such, Duke is hard to oppose.

The Overnight Allowance contest for three-year-olds and upward over five and a half furlongs (1,100m) is positioned as the eighth and final event on the card with a post time of 4:50 pm. First race is at 12:30 pm.

Duke last raced at this level on May 7, when the Casual Trick - Lady Mcbeth offspring won easily over six furlongs (1,200m). In a time of 1:13.0 Duke won by 5 1/2 lengths over Eagle One and Power Ranking. Duke could easily record his 15th career win from 72 starts here, despite a top weight of 57.0kgs (126lb). Dane Dawkins rides.

Who will fill the second position here is the most exciting aspect of the race. The exacta favourites are Freedom Street, El Profesor, Curlin’s Affair, and Luksol.

Freedom Street has not been in the best condition of late but the Patrick Lynch trainee has speed and should be in the race if he can get a trouble-free trip.

El Profesor, a stablemate of Freedom Street, has also been battling with form recently. However, considerin­g the circumstan­ces of this race this eight-year-old bay gelding has back class and could surprise.

Curlin’s Affair, trained by Oral Hayden, enters this race in good condition. On September 23 the five-yearold chestnut horse finished third by 7 1/2 lengths behind I’ve Got Magic and Sistren Treasure over six furlongs. If he can repeat that performanc­e then Curlin’s Affair should be the favourite to finish second here.

On September 16 Luksol, trained by champion conditione­r Jason Dacosta, was an outstandin­g winner at the races. The four-year-old bay filly led home competitor­s in a five-furlong (1,000m) round event, winning by two lengths in a time of 1:00.1. Luksol has been training hard for this race, and given her pace she is sure to do well.

Cataba, T Brady, Snowflakes, A Gift From Ben, Gone A Negril, Kwaku, March and Shoot, Alexa’s Lodge, and Alexa’s Dream are the remaining runners in the field.

Ones to watch

Race 1) Hunter’s Ridge/ Fiery Path/silver Soul

Race 2) Babylon Will Fall/ Cave Man/she’s Nae Nae

Race 3) Prosecco/big Argument/traditiona­l Boy

Race 4) Prince Sanjay/legal Bomb/select Me

Race 5) Power From Above/ Manoushe/super Alex

Race 6) The Bees Knees/ Fearless Reina/lion Charmer

Race 7) Divine Force/ Rhythm Buzz/essential Quality

Race 8) Duke/curlin’s Affair/el Profesor

 ?? ?? Duke

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