Sports

Perfect Neighbour

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter
ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, September 22, 2018

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Former Derby and St Leger winner Perfect Neighbour will attempt to win four Governor General's Stakes titles in six years when he takes on rivals in the 10 furlongs (2,000m) Graded Stakes event at Caymanas Park today.

Perfect Neighbour won this event on three-consecutive occasions in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Natural Selection - Desperatehousewife offspring defeated stable companion Kal Kal by six lengths in a time of 2:06.3 minutes for his first hold as a three-year-old in 2013. The following year the then four-year-old came through by a length and a half over Commanding Chief in a time of 2:07.3 minutes before wrapping up a third-consecutive win by five lengths in a time of 2:07.3 minutes, beating Typewriter.

However, in an attempt to win the Governor General's Stakes for four-consecutive years, Perfect Neighbour was put in his place when he lost to Franfield by four lengths in 2016. The 2017 edition was won by Will In Charge. Now Perfect Neighbour has the opportunity to reclaim his title.

The Wayne DaCosta trainee won't have things easy this year as stiff competition should come from the likes of the recent winner of The Viceroy Stakes (nine furlongs), the Anthony Nunes-trained Houdini's Magic and Superluminal from the barn of Ian Parsard. The other runners in the field of five are Perfect Neighbour's stable companions Hover Craft and Dysfunctional will run their honest races.

The Governor General Stakes, which is often seen as a major preparation race for the upcoming Superstakes in November, is positioned as the eighth event on the 11-race programme and is set to go to post at 3:50 pm with first race at 11:40 am.

Although he is not the force he once was, Perfect Neighbour is slowly but surely rounding into some good form of late. The veteran campaigner has two wins from 10 starts this season with those victories coming in Open Allowance company. Perfect Neighbour loves going long, in fact, the longer the better for him.

If Perfect Neighbour can stay close enough to the leaders when the pace is expected to pick up at the half-mile (800m), then his predictable burst of energy in the stretch is going to be hard to withstand. Omar Walker will ride the eight-year-old dark bay gelding at 54.0 kgs (119lb).

Houdini's Magic was not disgraced when finishing fourth on August 25 in the Prime Minster's Stakes over the same distance as today's race. Although he was beaten by Will In Charge, Superluminal and Perfect Neighbour in that race, Houdini's Magic should do better.

If Houdini's Magic is allowed to lead unmolested his chances of winning are greatly enhanced, especially with front riding jockey Wesley Henry back in the saddle after missing two rides. Houdini's Magic is almost sure to be in front from the off, after which the known closers are going to struggle to catch him. Houdini's Magic will carry top weight of 57.0kgs (126lb).

Superluminal ran really well when finishing two-and-a-half lengths behind Will In Charge in the Prime Minister's Stakes in which he had Perfect Neighbour and Houdini's Magic behind him. Prior to that, he had won over 10 furlongs in Overnight Allowance company and despite moving up against these tough and resilient competitors he is going to have a strong say in the outcome of the Governor General's Stakes. Apprentice Javaniel Patterson will ride at 54.0 kgs (119lb).

Hover Craft is another hard-knocking horse who continues to show up when it matters most. Hover Craft returned after a break and won coming down the five-straight (1,000m) course in upset fashion at the Overnight Allowance level on September 8, but against these going 10 furlongs it will be a difficult task.

Dysfunctional took apart rivals going six-and-a-half furlongs (1,300m) at the Overnight Allowance level last week. He will not find this journey too taxing and should be thereabouts when this race is being decided.

A good, competitive race is at hand with nearly all the factors pointing to a fight between Perfect Neighbour and Houdini's Magic.

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