Nunes to earn Guineas stripes
ANTHONY NUNES’ battalion of youngsters, who were single-handedly taken down by nemesis Wayne DaCosta’s RUN THATCHER RUN in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, the defining moment of last year’s trainers’ championship battle, are favourites to sweep Saturday’s Guineas prep races, while their conqueror continues to recuperate from shin injuries, recently getting his first two gallops.
Nunes has decided to have Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes runner-up, SUPREME SOUL, skip the seven-furlong Prince Consort Stakes, but has a tactical stranglehold on the six-horse field with three runners – TOONA CILIATA, JUICE MAN and expected favourite., EARN YOUR STRIPES, the horse who had finished two lengths away in third place after being hounded off the lead by RUN THATCHER RUN.
Omar Walker is aboard speedy hat-trick FATHER PATRICK and won’t be waiting on any of Nunes’ horses with his mount’s stamina limitations being suspect but, in trying to preserve his mount, could be under pressure from the get-go to stay clear of even no-hoper JUICE MAN.
FATHER PATRICK’s solid splits of 22.0, 45.0 and a final time of 1:12.0 is testimony to his blinding speed, which TOONA CILIATA had to respect in the Sir Howard before making headway inside the last half-furlong to get within three-quarter length of the speedster.
This suggests EARN YOUR STRIPES might find himself having to do his own dirty work of pressing FATHER PATRICK in a duel to the death. The last time he was eyeballed, EARN YOUR STRIPES blinked first and was overpowered by RUN THATCHER RUN after six-and-a-half furlongs.
Though he lost the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, EARN YOUR STRIPES wasn’t exactly quitting at a mile, which is a big plus in his favour against FATHER PATRICK, who is yet to run beyond six furlongs.
FATHER PATRICK will try escaping Nunes’ mob in his hunt of a hat-trick of wins. However, though lightning fast and full of class, he is still CRUCIAL APPEAL’s brother and was coming back to TOONA CILIATA at six furlongs, after mixing it up with Philip Feanny’s CUSTER in the Sir Howard Stakes, giving EARN YOUR STRIPES the edge at the distance.
Meanwhile, CORAZON is safely expected to continue her dominance over the fillies in the Thornbird Stakes. No filly has ever finished ahead of her in a race, from five furlongs straight to her fourth-place run against colts and geldings in the Jamaica Two-Year- Old Stakes.
Robert Halledeen has the leg up aboard both Nunes favourites with Walker twice the antagonist, this time astride DaCosta’s LADY BLUE, who started her career by losing three of four races to CORAZON.
Similar to FATHER PATRICK, LADY BLUE, who recently returned off a three-month lay-up with a smashing win at six furlongs, will have to try slipping CORAZON after blazing a flat six furlongs at exercise in 1:12.4.
CORAZON, however, had tracked her in 1:11.1 in the Pick-3 Super Challenge, when they were two-year-olds, before blowing past to win by a length and a quarter at seven furlongs.