By Petra Harvey | The Barbados Advocate | 27th February, 2011
The 2011 edition of the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup is being described by pundits as one of the more open fields in the history of the race.
However, if there is one horse that many feel has a good chance of winning the prestigious race, it is the Melrose Racing/Clifton Racing-owned Rocamadour. Rocamadour pulled post position two at the draw last Thursday, right next to another local favourite Show Me The Money, which pulled post position one.
The five-year-old bay colt stunned everyone at the Garrison last year to win the Val Gale Cup, from a field that included the likes of Pure Temptation, Apostle, Zoom and Show Me The Money. However, in his very next race, the Queen’s Plate, Rocamadour picked up a serious injury that saw him out of action until Boxing Day last year.
Trainer Jonathan Simpson spoke to the Barbados Advocate and he admitted he is quietly confident that his charge will bring home the bacon next Saturday, especially with Jono Jones in the saddle. Jones has won the Gold Cup four times in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 and is tied with Venice Richards for most Gold Cup wins.
“I think post position two is fantastic. Any position on the inside between two and maybe eight, going over nine furlongs, is a nice draw. With post position two Rocamadour has the ability that he can go to front. He has early speed and what I think he will try to do is to get out and Jono Jones can get him in a good position and play the race out from there. As we see most of the speed horses have been drawn in the outside four boxes so that is going to be interesting,” said Simpson.
Simpson also added that Rocamadour is coming along nicely after his injury scare last year. During last year’s Queen’s Plate Handicap, Rocamadour shattered the entire bottom of his left front foot and had to be sent out to pasture. However, Simpson noted they are pleased with his recovery as Rocamadour is looking again to spring some surprises.
“He came back big and strong and came fifth on Boxing Day in the Victor Chandler Stakes & Trophy. He turned for home and he was last and he was swallowing them up, every yard he was getting closer and closer.
“We have been trying very hard to keep him fit for this race and at this moment I would say he is as fit as he has ever been or fitter. We are working him on the track very early to get the best track, so not a lot of people have seen him. So we are coming like a stealth bomber,” said Simpson.