Champion trainer John O’Brien is the most enviable man at the centralised venue – Santa Rosa Park, Arima but on Boxing Day, his stable did not control the top races as they usually do.
O’Brien stable has been exemplary in the three major events on Boxing Day including The St James Stakes and The St. Ann’s Stakes.
Sarkis Mohsen Leunkara
In 2017, the stable struck with Battle Cry and Leading Lady in the Juvenile event and last year, it repeated the dosage when General JN trotted up in St James before Leading Lady blew her field away in the St Ann’s Stakes.
However, the 2018 Boxing Day card proved very different with O’Brien saddling a solitary winner in the NLCB St Ann’s Stakes. The juvenile which won the Grade Two event was none other than the 1-9 favourite Shes So Spectacula. This Jamaican bred filly was an impressive winner on her debut when she beat the St James Stakes winner Regal Intention by two lengths. On Boxing Day punters installed the Chevan Maharaj owned filly as the favourite as she was better on as though defeat was out of the question. The Miami-USA based Carlos Montalvo who was expected to come to Trinidad to partner the daughter of Soul Warrior/Princess Geeta did not arrive and Champion Apprentice jockey Rico Hernandez did the steering
From the off Hernandez broke swiftly from the widest draw and had the filly tracking the pace set by stablemate Cloud Dancer and Blue Haven with Dakota tracking the pace in fourth
Going to the far turn Cloud dancer still held sway but Blue Haven and Shes So Spectacula were making up ground on the leader quickly
With 500 metres left Shes So Spectacula had cantered into the lead in the centre of the track and looked to be travelling twice a good as anything else in the field. Cloud Dancer began to come under pressure as Blue Haven moved in second with Dakota being set alight to make his run at the leader
When the horses swung for home the procession had begun with Hernandez doing precious little on the champion juvenile. She quickly pulled eight lengths clear with her rider even urging her to do anything. Dakota began to run on and stayed on well to be second to the mightily impressive winner who was 10 ¾ lengths in front at the line. Sentebale ran on for third with Atta Girl Silvy in fourth
The winner’s time was 1:23.37 which was faster than that of the boys in the St James Stakes
Galvez pushes Regal Intention to victory
In the NLCB St James, over 1,350 metres Regal Intention got the better of the John O’Brien trained favourite and hitherto unbeaten Early Bid, which was sent off as the 3/5 favourite. O’Brien had four horses engaged in the St James Stakes and Early Bird with Hernandez set off to make all the running. He was tracked by Regal Intension and Marengo with and Making Headlines at the rear
Going to the far turn, Early Bird still held sway as Galviz asked Regal Intention to go after the leader as Marengo hoisted the white flag. It was now a match race as Early Bid still held the lead with Regal Intention challenging
As the horses swung for home Early Bid still held a half-length advantage over Regal Intention on which Galviz was pushing for all he was worth. Suddenly with 200 metres left in the event, Early Bird seem to come under pressure and Galviz seized the opportunity to give Regal Intention a crack of the whip and ask him to go win the race. Regal Intention then ranged up and passed Early Bird which showed guts and determination to be a length down at the wire. The winner recorded a time of 1:23.78 for the trip. Making Headlines ran on stoutly to be third with Blue Navigator back in fourth
A happy Wilmer Galviz said, “It was hard work but in the end, he got up. He was always travelling well but the leader was not giving in and it took his courage and the extra yardage to get the job done.”