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Magical Victory new Champion

Trinidad Express / MAGICAL VICTORY stopped Bigman In Town from completing a beaver-trick of wins in yesterday’s 1,800-metre Champion Stakes at Santa Rosa Park, Arima. The dark bay three-year-old son of Performing Magic/Bitter End, owned by Dr Rupert Indar Jnr and ridden by Brian Boodramsingh for trainer John Leotaud, scored by 1 ¾ lengths from the favourite, Bigman In Town, Black Onyx and Free Passage in a time of 1:55.63, taking the $60,000 first prize in the six-horse feature. It was the seventh race on the eight-race card. Trinidad Derby Stakes winner, Academy Award was scratched from the race because of suspected ‘tick’ fever, creating something of an anti-climax, as there would be no showdown with Bigman In Town. The ‘Bigman’ coming off an 11-month layoff, was all heart in defeat. He was first to show, leaving the gates in front of the Trainers Pavilion, but was not allowed an uncontested lead. ‘Bigman’ was joined by Magical Victory with maiden Black Onyx, who was not that alertly away, rushing up against the rails to join the leaders. Swinging up the backstretch, Bigman In Town regained the lead, but Magical Victory was his shadow. The pair inched ahead of the field, with past Derby winners, Free Passage and Momentum under very strong urging to keep in touch. Revelation on the turf track The younger Magical Victory, who has been a revelation on the turf track, challenged Bigman In Town for the lead approaching the final 800 metres to the wire. This move brought the small crowd to its feet, as he went ahead, forcing Abrego to galvanise the pride of Santa Rosa Park, Bigman In Town, for one final effort. While he responded to the challenge, his trademark kick that left his opponents in awe, brought such joy to his followers, and made him a racing star was not there. His legs could not take him to success in what certainly appears to be his last race. He did not return to the usual hero’s welcome because very few patrons and horsemen did not realise they were witnessing his last race. However, Magical Victory was made to battle by the ‘Bigman’ as he bravely fought back. He was defeated, but not disgraced. In the co-feature for T&T-bred juvenile fillies, Set Sail remained undefeated from her two starts with a runaway success in yesterday’s 1,100-metre Futurity Stakes. The Dave Chadee-owned bay daughter of Gold Market/Luv Boat, trained by Harold Chadee and ridden by Sheldon Rodrigo, scored by four lengths from Blind Date, Cactus Treasure and She Izza Lady, in a fast 1:06.62. Leaving the start second favourite, Cactus Treasure was quickest away from his 10-gate draw, but was quickly collared by the 1/2 odds-on favourite Set Sail. She kept his company for a short while, and they were joined by Blind Date. Nearing the halfway stage Rodrigo allowed the filly to stride ahead, but was shadowed by Cactus Treasure, who made his move to the leader. However, she lengthened her stride in style, and came away unchallenged. Gusty performance Blind Date, who was in joint second with Cactus Treasure early in the race but dropped away, put up a gusty performance. She came with a late rattle to edge out Cactus Treasure for the runner-up slot. On an overcast afternoon the day’s opener was delayed because jockeys decided to hold the industry to literal “ransom.” They were not going to fulfill their riding obligations because of the non-payment of their commission money owed to them by the Arima Race Club. It was earned on Day 36. This uncaring move almost caused the cancellation of yesterday’s eight-race card, as trainers who have not received their money felt it was time they stood up to the jockeys, and were intent on scratching their horses. However, good sense prevailed after discussions. The jockeys claimed that a notice was posted by the club indicating they will be honouring their commitment, but failed to keep their promise because cashier, Wade Stone took in ill last Tuesday, and no one else could have prepared the cheques. After deliberation with the stewards and a Betting Levy Board representative, they then decided to honour their commitment. Racing action continues on Saturday with the staging of the 1,200-metre Stewards Cup. It is a showdown between last year’s winner, Control Unit and stablemate, Whisper Light.

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