Six chase James B Dawes Memorial Trophy

Observer writer

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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The perennial James B Dawes Memorial Trophy race will highlight a low-key midweek, nine-race card at Caymanas Park today.

However, with the three-year-old season on the horizon these races entail great interest, hence the opening race for three-year-olds and upward, imported three-year-olds and upward maidens, and three-year-olds (NW2) lifetime will share the spotlight.

The race will go over 1,200 metres for the day's principal purse of $900,000 with a field of six declared to start, and is expected to go to post at approximately 12:50 pm.

The expectant American import My Elle Belle, to be ridden by Dane Nelson, is among the favourites to open her account having disappointed on last as the 1-4 morning line favourite. But even so, under strong handling now from the three-time champion jockey she should not disappoint on this occasion.

Trained by Spencer Chung for owners Lakeland Farms Ltd, her first run in a competitive race on local soil could be the blowout she needed to straighten her out and now, riding the bends, could come into her own with a more favourable performance.

Council Of Trent, another disappointing American import and still without a win at age five, is expected to use this opportunity to break loose from his shackles and turn the form around.

He is owned and trained by Carl Anderson after being claimed out of a $450,000 race two races ago. He has since ran favourably once finishing second and managed to earn a small share in his next race. Since then he has trained well, and with the in form claiming apprentice Oneil Scott called to the saddle in place of none-claiming apprentice Linton Steadman, should the five-year-old son of Student Council reproduce his exercise gallops, then My Elle Belle will herself have to hold on to her gallop to stop Council of Trent shedding his maiden tag.

The race is not entirely between the two Americans as Azaria, a local-bred filly owned by Phillip Azar and trained by Gary Griffiths who won at the distance on debut, looks game enough at exercise for a repeat and should be competitive throughout with Paul Francis in the tack.

Four races down is the James B Dawes Trophy event race, a three-year-old and upward claiming race for $450,000 down to $400,000 going 1,300 metres, for a purse of $720,000. A field of seven runners is carded and is expected to go to post at approximately 2:55 pm.

With Dane Nelson returning to the saddle, it is more than likely that an interesting battle of wits could develop between the pilots of Meet Justin (Dane Nelson), Sweet Dimension (Anthony Thomas) and Cruising Motion (Ruja Lahoe) for parity. Zackontheattack, a recent winner, will also figure in the toss up, but top weight could be a deterrent coming from a new camp and running for the first time for the year.

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