The trinidad Guardian / Battlecry came through to cause a major upset on the Arima Race Club’s (ARC) Republic Day card when the John O’Brien trained three-year-old colt beat overwhelming favourite, Bigman In Town in the feature Grade One – Caribbean Champion Stakes over 1,800 metres.
In winning the Champion Stakes, O’Brien and Battlecry stopped the winning run of Baskaran Bassawh’s seven-year-old champion Bigman In Town.
Last year O’Brien inflicted the first defeat on Bigman In Town when Magical Victory scored an upset win in the 2016 edition of the Champion Stakes.
When the starter sent the seven horse field on their way for the Caribbean Champion Stakes, Bigman in Town was first to show from Magical Victory with Valorous close up. Battlecry followed the leaders with Peace N Glory, Hello and Fast N Furious in tow.
Going down the back Valorous was sent on from Bigman In town, these were followed by Magical Victory and Battlecry, with Peace N Glory, Hello and Fast N Furious coming under pressure.
The Grand Stand erupted with 300 metres left as as jockey Sheldon Rodrigo sent Bigman In Town for home but all the way he only held a length and a half lead on Magical Victory and Valorous while Battlecry ridden by Brian Boodramsingh moved up the inside to make a run at the leaders.
Battlecry took control in the final 100 metres and ran out a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths winner in the time of 1 minute 54.40 seconds. Bigman In Town had to settle for second for yet another year with Peace N Glory in third.
The win gave O’Brien his eighth success in the event tiring the achievement of the legendary Eric ‘Colt’ Durant.
To add to his successes on the Republic Day card, O’Brien also saddled the the Midsummer Classic and Derby winner, Leading Lady to win the Gleneagle Stakes over 1750 metres.
However, in the third major event on the ten race card Horse of The Year 2016 Thisonesforron was beaten into third spot by favourite Whisper Light in the Grade Three-Diamond Stakes over 1350 metres.
Whisper Light was superbly ridden by Ricky Jadoo to beat Conquest Bespoke in a thrilling finish in a race which was set up from the start with Whisper Light and Conquest Bespoke battling at the head of affairs and Thisonesforron tracking the pace. At the corner, Thisonesforron looked likely to win but Ricky Jadoo had something up his sleeves and asked the Whisper Light to quicken in style to win by half-a-length in the time of 1 minute 21.67 seconds.
Earlier in the day, Leading Lady landed the Gleneagle Stakes with Pryaven Badrie in the saddle. The combination produced swell timed run in the final 300 metres to beat stable-mate Rocket Wheels and Blind Date in what was an all O’Brien finish by 2 1/2 lengths.