www.nationnews.com By Lindon Yarde | Fri, March 04, 2011
Gold Cup Day at the Garrison Savannah has always attracted highly skilled jockeys in the past, and 2011 will be no different.
This year a record seven jockeys from the Caribbean, United States and Britain will showcase they honed skills against our local riders when the 30th edition of the region’s most prestigious race runs off at the Garrison Savannah tomorrow.
Last year, Barbados’ most famous rider Patrick Husbands, came face to face with top Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh, and when they flashed past the post, Husbands reigned supreme aboard Sterwins.
This year, fans are saying it’s now David versus Goliath – Husbands versus another top Irishman Jamie Spencer.
And let’s not forget another Irishman, Darryl Holland and the relatively young Englishman Phillip Makin.
If one can question the quality of the horses entered, then that’s supplemented by the high quality of professional riders who continuously strive on the adrenalin rush for motivation by heading to one of the smallest tracks in the Caribbean.
The local jockeys are being led by Husbands, an eight-time Canadian Sovereign award winner, and aruguably the best jockey this country has ever produced.
Englishman Darryl Holland, who is no stranger to this race having participated for the past two years, is determined to add the Sandy Lane Gold Cup to his high profile riding career achievements.
These include winning the German and Italian 2000 Guineas with Dupont, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Falbrav and the Coronation Cup aboard Warrsan just to name a few.
Holland’s best effort in the Gold Cup was a third place finish aboard the Sir David Seale-owned Preach To Me in 2009. He will once again team up with Hopefield Stables to ride John Brian.
Sir David has not won this race since 1992 when the popular Sandford Prince strode to victory.
Makin will be getting his first taste of action on the Garrison track.
He will be seen wearing the Aysha Syndicate’s silks aboard Charge It.
Another first-timer here is the talented Puerto Rico-born America- based Jeffrey Sanchez, who won his first Breeders Cup ride in 2010 aboard Awesome Feathers for trainer Stanley Gold.
The pair combined to land the Grey Goose Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies (Gr.1) Over 1 1/16 mile at Church Hill Downs last November. Sanchez will be aboard the Wesley Ward trained Grand Cash in the big event. Panamanian-born
Nobel Abrego will be riding the Trinidadian representative Tres Amigos; Abrego is no stranger to these shores; his appetite for big races was evident when he won the final two legs of last year’s Triple Crown. Adding the pattern event will be a dream come through.
Kittitian champion jockey Jason Liburd will also get a taste of the action as he partners M & S Stable-owned Al Portador in the seventh Sandy Lane Spa Sprint Stakes and Trophy (Gr.1) over 1 100 metres.
Former Guyanese champion jockey, Michael Semple, now based at Beaumont Park, has the riding arrangement for the M and S Stables-owned Atabaas Pride in the Sandy Lane Spa Sprint.
Joining Husbands in the Caribbean richest horse race is Jono Jones who is tied with the most wins in this event with the retired Venice Richards – four wins, as well as Anderson Trotman and Ricky Walcott, both of whom have won the race once.
Champion jockey Jalon Samuels and Antonio Bishop will complete the local contingent who will lock horns in the main event.