Perfect Neighbour – Still sprightly, still a winner at age eight

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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Omar Walker used his strength and new-found confidence to pilot the eight-year-old Perfect Neighbour to a stirring victory in the top-rated Open Allowance event over nine furlongs and 25 yards (1,820m) on the 10-race card at Caymanas Park yesterday.

Walker, who has been riding with some fear since breaking his wrist late last year, broke Perfect Neighbour well, but the dark bay horse couldn't match strides with the younger ones and had to track his rivals from sixth position in the seven-horse field.

Jamai Raja (Mellisa Ward) took the field around the Clubhouse Turn and down the back stretch, followed by Drummer Boy (Gary Richards) and Lightning Lily (Oneil Mullings).

Perfect Neighbour, the Derby winning of 2013, allowing weight to all, made his winning move when Walker pushed him down into third spot running around the half mile (800m) as Lightning Lily took control of the race ahead of Jamai Raja.

Turning for home on the outside of Lightning Lily, Walker produced his mount and Perfect Neighbour scooped by with his trademark late kick to win by a length and a half in the three-year-old and upward event.

Lightning Lily held well for second place ahead of Uncle Frank (Anthony Thomas) third and Jamai Raja in fourth spot. The winning time for the race was a good 1:56.1.

Leading rider Anthony Thomas rode a three-timer to top all jockeys on the day. Thomas was successful aboard Ice Ice Baby (first race), Kingswood (third race) and Crucial Appeal (fifth race). Thomas was suspended for five days recently but has since appealed the decision of the stewards of the regulatory arm of local horse racing, the Jamaica Racing Commission.

Fellow apprentice Andre Powell fell from his mount Flashy Mama Mia in the first race and was stood down for the day. After the fall, Powell complained of pains in his lower back as well as chest and was then taken to hospital for further observation. Also stood down on the day were jockeys Robert Halledeen and Harriston Lewis. Both were not feeling well.

Yesterday, was a day for the favourites as the first nine races were taken by the favourites, which is quite unusual on a Wednesday race card. The dominance of the favourites was only broken in the last event when Big Dream, ridden by Aaron Chatrie and trained by Joseph Thomas, won coming down the five straight at odds of 36-1.

Racing continues on Saturday next (August 18, 2018) with another 10-race card featuring the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Trophy.

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