Fri | Feb 22, 2019

Competitive field for Abbie Grannum

Published:Wednesday | November 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
WITHOUT EXCEPTION, ridden by Javoneil Patterson, wins the fifth running of the Coca-Cola Invitational Mile at Caymanas Park last Saturday.

This afternoon's Abbie Grannum Memorial for two-year-old maidens, a field of 10 starters with no eye-catching entry, could be a tricky one, especially at seven furlongs.

It makes no sense playing hero with a bunch of unproven maidens so approach this race with caution, noting horses such as Anthony Nunes' MATRIARCH, whose five outings were all won by her stablemates.

Michael Marlowe's filly, FIGHTING VALBEE, ran an even race for fourth behind PRINCESS ANNIE, speedy CAIRO and DUKE on debut a month ago. She returns treated with lasix and is likely to start favourite.

However, Gordon Lewis' NUCLEAR PROUD also showed ability behind PRINCESS ANNIE, though weakening significantly inside the last furlong, going six-and-a-half. She, too, returns treated with lasix and can't be underestimated.

DaCosta's DON JULIO and RIDDIM UP, who reports without blinkers, have also shown signs of ability and cannot be left out of calculations, both now fitted with tongue-ties.

Listed as the sixth race, the Abbie Grannum forms part of almost every exotic bet on the 10-race card, overlapping both Pick 6s, the Hi-Five, Placepot, Pick-9 and the first Pick 4. Play it smart and use multiple selections

Meanwhile, though the jockeys' title race between Anthony Thomas and Panamanian Dick Cardenas is still on with the young Jamaican nine winners ahead, SHE'S A MANEATER's back-to-back Superstakes win on Saturday drove a dagger into Nunes' hopes of stopping arch-rival DaCosta from notching a 13th consecutive and 18, overall, trainers' championship.

Nunes' BIGDADDYKOOL could only manage third, finishing seven and a half lengths down the track, eased by jockey Linton Steadman, barely putting the gelding in line to earn a place in next month's Diamond Mile, which has a winner's purse of approximately $8m, Nunes' last straw of the season, really a mirage, to overtake DaCosta.

Sitting $4.2m in arrears after DaCosta extended his lead by also landing Saturday's Invitational Mile with 6-1 shot WITHOUT EXCEPTION, Nunes is nursing a bloodied nose for yet another year, awaiting the knockout punch on December 1 when SHE'S A MANEATER goes in hunt of consecutive Diamond Mile victories.

Sunday's annual Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Yearling Sale was the scene of yet another DaCosta-Nunes battle as the top two trainers went all out for a HAM Stables-bred Blue Pepsi Lodge-Rumble chestnut filly.

Nunes won in the end as the auctioneer's hammer fell at a record $5.1m on the filly whose grand dam is Beware Baby, BIGDADDYKOOL's mother.