The trinidad Guardian / Champion trainer John O’Brien was the star of the Arima Race Club’s (ARC) Republic Day card. O’Brien saddled the three-year-old colt Battlecry to win the feature Grade One-Caribbean Champion Stakes over 1,800 metres while stopping the winning run of the Baskaran Bassawh-owned seven-year-old champion Bigman In Town.
As all will know, Bigman In Town is the best horse to grace the centralised facility and his exploits are well chronicled.
However, on Republic Day he meet his ‘Waterloo’ and was well and truly beaten by the younger thoroughbred Battlecry.
History would show that in 2016, O’Brien inflicted the first defeat in this event on Bigman In Town when Magical Victory scored an upset win in that year’s edition of the Champion Stakes.
Winning jockey Brian Boodramsingh said, “He was always travelling well and when I asked him for his effort on entering the straight he quickened up nicely to go pass Bigman In Town. He has come back from injury and after his Derby Run he was superb. I thank trainer O’Brien and owner Anthony Wight for giving me the opportunity to ride Battlecry.”
O’Brien was very happy with the performance of Battlecry and said he had a rough six months from February to July.
“He ran well in the Derby in which I thought he was unlucky but in the Champion Stakes showed that he had class and won well. He will no doubt continue to progress,” he said.
Wight could not hide his enthusiasm and joy saying: “This is what all owners are in the game for, and that is to win the major events. I must say Brian gave him a peach of a ride. He keep him close enough t the leaders and never backed off and when he got the run up the rail he took it and ran on best of all.
“Trainer John O’Brien, the veterinarian Roger D’Abadie and Anthony Leotaud must be complimented for bringing this horse back after his tendon problem. Their team-work has been exceptional and you can look back at the top creole Chanticleer which had tendon problems but they managed it and got that horse to win many top class races. They have done the same with Battlecry. I am elated.
“Few horses have beaten Bigman In Town and Battlecry is now one of the few which have done the job.”
O’Brien also saddled the Midsummer Classic and Derby winner, Leading Lady to win the Gleneagle Stakes over 1,750m.
O’Brien said, “Leading Lady is a very good filly. She has shown that she is one of the best by winning her last three starts. She was well ridden by Prayven Badrie and won going away.”
Badrie commented, “She made the race easy for me, as I waited to strike with her. Once I asked her to go win the race she quickened up for smart victory. She is indeed a good filly.”
Owner Chevan Maharaj was contented with filly’s performance saying: “After the Derby, had she not won this event something would have been wrong. Badrie positioned her well and waited to pounce and once in line for home she was always going to win. She is a well bred filly who has delivered. We will wait and see what next for her but we all know that she is a talented filly.”