Sport

As good as gold, next the search for diamonds

Choo Choo Blue wins coveted Gold Cup in scintillating run

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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The talented American filly Choo Choo Blue continued her impressive vein of form ahead of the ultra-rich Diamond Mile event in early December as she toppled rivals in an explosive 45th running of the Gold Cup on yesterday's 10-race Heroes' Day card at Caymanas Park.

The Peter McMaster-trained four-year-old bay filly ( Cowtown CatChooBloo by Bolger) was guided to a one-and-three-quarter length victory by apprentice Dane Dawkins, who continues to add to his credentials aboard Graded Stakes horses.

Punters turned out in their numbers in anticipation of another exciting Gold Cup, which pits some of the best sprinters, middle-distance horses and stayers against each other over 1,400 metres (seven furlongs), a distance considered by many to be the ideal one.

With some of the fittest horses lining up in what turned into a 10-horse field, following the late withdrawal of the Gary Subratie-trained Brawn, pace was always bound to be a significant factor.

As expected, Sir Budget (Javaniel Patterson up) went to the front, but was harassed all the while by Houdini's Magic (Wesley Henry), with Choo Choo Blue held comfortably in third approaching the half-mile.

Two-time Diamond Mile winner, Seeking My Dream (Orlando Foster) was also up with the front runners, but ran into traffic and backed out when the pace increased.

By the time the runners turned for home it was three across the track in a nail-biting stretch duel as 9-5 favourite Chace The Great (Anthony Thomas) made a telling move to lock horns with Houdini's Magic and Choo Choo Blue out wide.

The Miss Suckie-owned Choo Choo Blue then separated herself at the furlong pole and ran away for an easy victory. Lottery Ticket (Oniel Mullings up) came storming home for second with Houdini's Magic back in third and Gary Glitter (Chalrick Budhai up) completing the frame.

Choo Choo Blue covered the journey in a dazzling time of 1:23.4, just outside the track and stakes record of 1:22.4 held by Eros since 1994. The splits were 23.1, 45.3, and 1:10.2.

“There was a lot of speed in the race, so when we broke I just tried my best to relax her as comfortable as I could before urging her ( Choo Choo Blue) a little bit, and then at the three-furlong marker I asked her for everything.

“She didn't respond at first but after a couple cracks out of the whip she eventually got rolling and we just come through,” winning jockey Dawkins said in a post-race interview.

For trainer McMaster it was what he expected.

“I simply told the jockey to sit, sit in, and wait. This horse Choo Choo Blue is extra fit, super fit at this time, and it showed in the Gold Cup today (yesterday).

“Well, now it is on to the Diamond Mile in December, where Choo Choo will have a great chance of winning,” McMaster said.

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