Jamaica Gleaner / A CLASSIC campaigner two years ago before going off on a lay-up from which he returned in May, five-year-old SIEMPRE BUENO hunts his first overnight allowance win against nine rivals in this afternoon’s 1200-metre Ahwhofah Sprint. The chestnut horse has won twice in four starts since his return but faces the ultimate test: his first race on the round course in almost two and a half years.
Though he has raced four times since May, questions hover around SIEMPRE BUENO’s ability to safely navigate the bends around which he broke down in the 2015 Jamaica Derby, won by SEEKING MY DREAM, with whom he had epic clashes as a three-year-old.
Since his return, trainer Anthony Nunes has confined SIEMPRE BUENO to five furlongs straight, watching his former classic contender winning twice, the last being an 11-length romp in 58.2, a cheap optional claiming race open to non-winners-of-five. SIEMPRE BUENO made light work of SUPERTRONICS and SMOKEY TOPAZ. However, he had narrowly lost his previous race, an overnight allowance, to United States-bred speedster FORCE DE JOUR.
Back among overnight allowance company, SIEMPRE BUENO shares topweight 57.0 kilos with TRADITIONAL PRINCE, giving weight to the likes of DANCING QUEEN (52.5), BIRDIE MY LOVE (48.0), SHINING (54.5), ZEPHYR (53.0), and SIMPLY THE BEST (50.0). That’s a 16lb advantage to one of his most dangerous opponents in the quick sprint.
SIMPLY THE BEST reports off a strong win at 1200 metres, a superb 1:12.0, beating non-winners-of-four on what was, admittedly, a fast track on September 16. Another hot horse in the race is DANCING QUEEN, who recovered from a horrible start with Dick Cardenas on September 23, tailed off entering the lane at 1200 metres, but motored over the final furlong to finish fourth, a length and a half behind ORPHEUS, who beat TRADITIONAL PRINCE and MONEY MAGNET in a three-way photo.
Considering that MONEY MAGNET returned on October 7 to beat ZEPHYR in 1:06.0 at 1100 metres, DANCING QUEEN, who was scratched out of that race, must be a dangerous contender on her return, along with ZEPHYR, both getting weight from SIEMPRE BUENO.
DANCING QUEEN and SIMPLY THE BEST are live threats, especially at the handicaps. However, SIEMPRE BUENO is a class act. His performance on the lead caused eventual Derby winner and two-time Horse of the Year SEEKING MY DREAM to be caught by KRONUS in the 2015 Governor’s Cup. Prior to the Governor’s Cup, he narrowly lost to SEEKING MY DREAM in their 1820-metre prep race the previous month.
Nunes has been extremely patient with SIEMPRE BUENO, turning out the chestnut horse after his breakdown. He has gently eased him back into racing and must be convinced that his charge is ready. Jockey Dick Cardenas certainly is. He has won 15 races in the one month since he has returned to Caymanas Park, not going a meet without visiting the winners’ enclosure.