Nipster wins St Leger - foils stablemate’s Triple Crown bid

By Lance Whittaker  September 26, 2020

 

Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

“It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

“From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

“The horse is an easy horse to ride, quiet and very easy to deal with. He is cool and kind and (as long as) a horse is cool and kind that’s a whole heap of horse,” Steadman added.

Nipster clocked the fastest St Leger win since War Zone’s race record 2:05.2 in 1996 while foiling Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid.

“We are disappointed (for Wow Wow) but I am happy for the owner because he believed in the horse,” was Subratie’s take on Nipster denying Wow Wow the chance at becoming the third Triple Crown champion in four years – after She’s a Maneater (2017) and Supreme Soul (2019) -- at Caymanas Park. 

Related items

  • Aberdeen defender Leigh hoping to force way into Jamaica World Cup plans Aberdeen defender Leigh hoping to force way into Jamaica World Cup plans

    Newly minted Jamaica international and Aberdeen defender, Greg Leigh, confesses he is eager to prove his worth, as the Reggae Boyz target a return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 22 years next summer.

    Leigh made his debut for the national team against Saudi Arabia last week, taking part in both the 3-0 loss and the 2-1 win.  The 26-year-old made a decent impression at wing back and is already eager to be a part of future matches.

    The matches were the first for the national team following a months-long break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.  There is little time to ease their way in, however, as the Jamaicans will already have their eyes on a big 2021, which will include participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but more importantlywill mark the start of the team’s World Cup qualification campaign.

     “We have World Cup qualifiers in June and then straight into the Gold Cup in July. In the World Cup group we have Costa Rica, Mexico, and the USA,” Leigh told The Press and Journal.

    “There is another trip in March to Catalonia, so hopefully I can play well enough to stay in the plans,” he added.

    “It would mean playing all through next summer, but that’s something you consider when you want to play international football.

    “The prospect of playing in a World Cup is above everything else, it would be a massive thing. I want to commit to it and do everything I can to help us get there.”

  • 'COVID hampered JFF planning' - gen sec Wint claims pandemic fallout posed major challenges for Saudi Arabia tour 'COVID hampered JFF planning' - gen sec Wint claims pandemic fallout posed major challenges for Saudi Arabia tour

    General secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, has claimed the unusual situations emanating from the coronavirus pandemic complicated the association’s planning efforts for the recent tour of Saudi Arabia.

    The JFF came under heavy criticism from head coach Theodore Whitmore, team captain Damion Lowe and a host of others for a wide range of issues that occured on the team’s middle east tour.  Some of the problems included the unavailability of players due to coronavirus testing, unpaid match fees, and incorrect seat bookings.

    In arguing the JFF’s case, however, Wint pointed to the peculiarity of the current situation surrounding travel and restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

    “We thought we were at a stage to have the proposals signed, but unfortunately they came back with some concerns.  I think some part of it was reasonable because they were going into an environment which was not a usual situation, where the match fees that we generally agree to we did not agree to because the fact is that we were going into Saudi Arabia during the COVID pandemic, which put another spin on the issue,” Wint said in a recent interview with the SportsMax Zone.

    While insisting he understood the coach's situation, with not having some key members of the team available in time for the first match, Wint pointed out that in some regards the JFF was in uncharted territory.

    “During the time of COVID, it’s not a perfect situation.  You are encounter things you never encountered before.  The fact is that we had players reaching days late, because of the fact that flights had to be changed, they had to re-do their COVID tests and all different issues because borders were closed left right and centre."

    The Jamaica national team lost the first game 3-0, before rebounding with a 2-1 win in the second.

  • Wesley Brown shoots final round 67 to dominate Sterling Asset-sponsored golf tourney Wesley Brown shoots final round 67 to dominate Sterling Asset-sponsored golf tourney

    Wesley Brown followed up his first-round score of 66 on Monday with a five-under par 67 to win the two-day Sterling Asset Management-sponsored Golf Tournament by the Pro Golf League in the  at the Caymanas Golf Course in St Catherine on Tuesday.

    In the final tournament on the Jamaican Pro League calendar, Brown’s exceptional play saw him finish 13 shots clear of Raymond Brown and Sean Green, who shot identical scores of 72 and 74, respectively, for overall scores of 146.

    Allan Graham completed the final round with a 77 for an overall score of 150 while Orville Christie and Ricardo Perry shot 79s and 74s, respectively, to close on 153, a massive 20 shots off the winner.

    Al Robinson, who was six-over on Monday, was seven-over on Tuesday for a score of 157.

    Martin Butt was the best of the Senior Pros with a final round score of 73 but he just managed to hold off a charging Joel Campbell. Campbell’s 69 was the best score of the final round but had him coming up a stroke short of Butt’s combined score of 148.

    Campbell was eight-over and five shots behind at close of play on Monday.

    Meanwhile, Linval Higgins final round score of 78 gave him a combined score of 152 for third. Windell Stewart was a further shot back after he closed with 74, an improvement on the 79 he shot on Monday.

    Joe Soe (77/79) for 156 and Ian Christie (81/77) for 158 rounded out the top five.

    Sean Morris was the best of the amateurs with his final round score of 73 to register a two-stroke win over first-round leader Justin Burrowes, who shot a 79 to fall behind to finish two shots back.

    Having shot a first round score of 74, Shamir Wilson wasted a glorious opportunity to challenge for the win but collapsed with an 8-over par score of 80 to register a final score of 154 to finish third, four shots off the pace.

    Rocco Lopez’s opening round of 75 had also put him in early contention but he imploded massively on Tuesday with an 11-over par 83 to finish eight strokes behind the winner. He ended in a tie with Christian Chin, who shot 82 to finish on 158.

    Ahman Dhiman (81) for 162 and Milan Roof (94) for 173 rounded the amateurs.

                                                                              -30-

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.