Spencer leads British- based riders in Barbados

By Julian Armfield 4:25PM 4 MAR 2011 |Racing Post

Preview: Barbados, Saturday 9pm GMT

Garrison Savannah: Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup (Group 1-domestic) 1m1f, turf, 3yo+

JAMIE SPENCER, Darryll Holland and Philip Makin are set to ride in Saturday’s 30th running of the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup at Garrison Savannah.

However, the 12-runner race has been given the green light to go ahead only after connections of three of the contestants failed in a bid to exclude a horse from another Caribbean racing jurisdiction in the £70,000 event.

The event looked in real jeopardy after three senior figures joined forces in a bid to prevent horses from St Kitts taking part.

Sir David Seale,president of the Barbados Turf Club, millionaire Canadian owner Eugene Melnyk and local trainer Stephen Bynoe took legal action on the matter, which would have affected Spencer’s big-race mount Bad Action.

Three other Kittian horses are also set to run in a supporting race earlier on the card after racecourse stewards overruled the objection.

Beaumont Park racecourse in St Kitts opened its doors only last year, but the island has a rich racing history and a Kittian-trained horse won the 1954 running of the Barbados Derby.

Melnyk, who has won the Barbados Gold Cup twice before, with Kathir in 2004 and Sterwins last year, believes the Barbados Turf Club is making a “terrible mistake” byallowing the Kittitian horses to run.

He said: “They are putting the horses, the jockeys and the spectators at risk. We don’t know the history of the horses from St Kitts. Are they properly trained for the stalls? What are their ratings? This affair could put the Barbados Turf Club’s status in jeopardy.”

Melnyk is hoping that Safety Zone, trained by Canadian Mark Casse and ridden by last year’s victorious jockey Patrick Husbands, will run a big race.

He said: “He’s won seven of his last nine races at Woodbine and Tampa Bay so we’re in with a shout.”

Spencer, who jetted into Barbados on the eve of the race after booting home Wigmore Hall to win the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in Dubai on Thursday, will be aboard Bad Action, the St Kitts raider, in the big race.

The five-year-old gelding finished fifth in last year’s Gold Cup in Derrick Smith’s colours. Bad Action is a multiple race winner in both the US and St Kitts.

Holland, who has ridden in the Gold Cup twice before and finished third on Preach To Me in 2009, partners Sir David Seale’s John Brian.

He said: “I’m hopeful because there are a couple of front-runners in the field and mine is a hold-up horse. The race could be set up perfectly for me.”

Makin takes the ride on Charge It, another Barbadian contender. He said: “It’s my first ride in the race but the track is very similar to Chester and my experience going around there should stand me in good stead.”

The sole American raider, Grand Cash (Wesley Ward/Jeffrey Sanchez) has been working well at the track while Gay Smith, wife of Derrick, is bidding for her third Gold Cup with Zoom. Cheshire businessman, Michael Taylor, who has won two of the last three runnings of the race, is represented by Show Me The Money.

Local favourite Apostle will carry a lot of Barbados dollars on his back but there would no more popular winner than Mingun Temple.

This four-year-old is part-owned by Amanda Marshall, daughter of the late Bill Marshall, who saddled seven Gold Cup winners. The horse will run in Bill’s old colours.