Vital race for six

nationnews.com | By LINDON YARDE | Sat, February 11, 2012 – 12:04 AM

Today’s Rotherley Holdings Inc. Challenge Trophy and the Rotherley Construction Inc. Sprint Trophy – over 1 800 and 1 100 metres, respectively – at the Garrison Savannah are not the feature races but are significant for several horses entered.

On this Rotherley Construction Inc.-sponsored race day, six of the horses entered for two of the premier races on Gold Cup day – the Tanglewood Stakes & Trophy and the Sandy Lane Spa Sprint Stakes & Trophy – will get in their final run before the big day on March 3.

It all gets going in Race 5 when five of the six – Island Memories, Dance The Distance, Captain Sully, Silk N Satin and Sea Gypsy – will square off in the RHI Challenge Trophy.

However, it won’t be all about them as the real interest here lies with United States-bred Gold Cup representative Dancin David.

The Sir David Seale-owned colt will make his local debut, and his performance will be keenly monitored as this will be his only chance to impress before the pattern event.

Island Memories warmed up for his appointment on March 3 with a workmanlike victory in the Diamond International Crown Of Light Handicap over today’s distance against horses rated 58 to 80. Trainer Andy Ward’s intentions here might be nothing more than to tighten a few screws.

Stablemate Captain Sully will need the majority of the work as his form has gone in the wrong direction.

The others are also badly in need of a good performance under their belts.

It will be a test of speed versus stamina as six of the Spa Sprint nominees clash in the RCI Sprint Trophy.

Purr Class, Vitality, Greeley Gone West, Erados and Istanbul will meet Preach To Me. The Sir David Seale-owned horse had a hard-fought victory in the Ichi Ban Handicap, where he defeated Erados by a short head in a driving finish.

Preach To Me now carries the top weight of 133 pounds and while one can’t doubt his closing ability, he might be handing too much weight to potentially explosive speedballs.

Gay Smith’s Erados put in a Herculean effort last start.

His connections should be pleased with that performance and much the same is expected here.

Purr Class, Istanbul and Vitality all possess good early speed and are all capable of securing a victory. They will, however, need to be at their best as time is just about to expire in terms of getting it right.

Janaki stormed to victory last race day in the Diamonds International MontBlanc Challenge Sprint Trophy at today’s distance. Now carrying a similar weight, she must stand another excellent chance.

One can’t help but wonder why her connections opted not to pay the penalty and enter the Spa Sprint. Another victory here would certainly make her omission even more mind-blowing.

My picks

Race 1: Must Be The Money

Race 2: Chatter Box

Race 3: Capere

Race 4: Tornade

Race 5: Dance The Distance

Race 6: Shared Adventure

Race 7: Janaki

Race 8: Intact