Commander Two prevails by a neck in 2000 Guineas giving his trainer, jockey a first taste of Classic victory


Monday, April 16, 2018

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IN a performance which illustrated the basics of class, talent and the willingness to win, Commander Two, under an enterprising but at times giddy ride from apprentice Javaniel Patterson, led from start to finish to win the 44th running of the Jamaica 2000 Guineas sponsored by Supreme Ventures Limited through their Cash Pot and Money Time brands at Caymanas Park yesterday.

It was a determined run from the bay gelding trained by Patrick Taylor, as at no point during the race was he able to relax comfortably in the lead, with the chasing pack constantly clipping at his heels.

Commander Two (8-1) got a little breather at the top of the lane when he kicked on from rivals, but that was just for a mere second or two as Western Legend, under 1000 Guineas-winning jockey Robert Halledeen, produced a strong run in deep stretch.

Although showing signs of jitters and uncertainty as Western Legend kept coming closer and closer with ever stride, Patterson was still able to keep mount going and was grateful when the wire came, as Commander Two held on by a neck.

Western Legend (14-1) ran the race of his life to finish second and was simply undone by the better horse on the day.

Without Exception (Gary Richards) was thereabouts throughout the race and held on well for third place.

Favourite at 8-5, Marquesas (Shane Ellis) was never a factor in the entire race and ended in fourth place, while Another Vigorous (Dane Nelson), touted by many as the likely winner, after turning for home in a striking position, pulled up in 12th position.

Commander Two, a bay gelding by Forest Danger out of the Western Classic mare, Hurricane Michelle bred by Everglades Farm Limited, posted a faster time of 1:40.0 for the one-mile (1,600m) trip when compared with Disability Charm's 1:41.1 done in the 1000 Guineas on Saturday.

For his owner, Von White, it was his second Classic winner, but his first in the 2000 Guineas. White won the 1000 Guineas with One One Nine back in 2003 when first past the post Aero Commander was subsequently disqualified.

“Great! It was a truly great run by Commander Two. I was as I expected him to run and he did great and certainly did not disappoint. He (Commander Two) has been underestimated by everybody and we have proven them all wrong here today (Sunday). It is always a great feeling to win a Classic race. When you see your colours passing the winning post in front in a big race the feeling is very great,” White told the Jamaica Observer.

It was the first taste of Classic victory for trainer Taylor, known to all at the Park as “Mice”.

Patrick “Mice” Taylor has been around the racetrack for umpteen years, mainly as one of the many who religiously are present in the mornings clocking horses for various racing publications and himself. His love and devotion to the sport of horse racing led him to become a trainer and since then (approximately four years ago) Taylor has been quietly building his stocks as a conditioner.

“I am elated. I am happy, and I am excited that I have won my first Classic race. It was truly a wonderful run by him [Commander Two]. The game plan wasn't to go in front, but he did, and showed the class and courage of a truly good horse and won, albeit by a small margin, and for that I am happy. This will make my résumé look good now,” a beaming Taylor who was escorted to the winners' enclosure by his grandson Akeem Taylor said.

For apprentice Javaniel Patterson, it was further confirmation of his growing status as a reinsman as he continues to do well in his career which started in 2015. Patterson was winning by far his most prestigious race to date.

“The feeling right now is very amazing. I am overjoyed and I really don't know what to say more than that I am very happy. This horse is a very nice horse and I am happy that I have won my first Classic race with him. Many, many thanks to the trainer for keeping me on board Commander Two and to the owner as well,” the young man said with more than a hint of emotion in his voice.

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