The colt Supreme Soul withstood a terrific and unexpected challenge from his stablemate Toona Ciliata to win Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger and become Caymanas Park’s 12th Triple Crown winner as trainer Anthony Nunes logged an unprecedented sweep of the top finishes.

Coming off wins in the 2000 Guineas in April and the Jamaica Derby in June, Chevan Maharaj’s Supreme Soul snatched the prized Triple Crown final leg as the 1-2 favourite with a tense win by a short head over the 7-1 bet Toona Ciliata in the JM$4 Million (US$30,000) St Leger under jockey Shane Ellis.

The filly Princess Ava, a 46-1 outsider, was only a further half-length behind in third and the front-running Earn Your Stripes (6-1) faded to fourth as Nunes became the first ever trainer to saddle the top four finishers in a Jamaica Classic.

“It was a great feeling seeing three, four of my horses coming down the homestretch but there was a little piece of me that wanted to close out the Triple Crown for the Maharaj family,” Nunes told SportsMax.

Nunes’s entries stamped their authority from the start as Earn Your Stripes galloped into a comfortable lead and went into the backstretch cruising with Supreme Soul, the 27-1 bet Cryptocurrency and Toona Ciliata in a stalking group behind.

Supreme Soul went in chase of his front-running stablemate approaching the half-mile, as Toona Ciliata reignited his effort having lost some ground to slip almost six lengths off the lead.

Coming off the final bend, Supreme Soul pounced on the fading Earn Your Stripes and briefly headed him before Toona Ciliata shockingly surged forward and grabbed a narrow lead from his far more distinguished stablemate.

A riveting stride-for-stride battle ensued with Linton Steadman aboard Toona Ciliata matching Ellis’s vigorous ride toward the finish, while Nunes’s Princess Ava also loomed as a threat when they flashed past the eighth pole.

Hampered by a worrying hoof problem during final preparation for the St Leger, Supreme Soul advertised grit to repel Toona Ciliata’s spirited bid to claim the narrow win, stopping the clock at two minutes 09.20 seconds for the 10-furlong trip.

Supreme Soul had been given sea training this past week to avoid the impact of his hurting hoof on the racetrack.

“What he’s been through this week, it was really hard on him. He battled through,” said Nunes, who had captured a 2016 Triple Crown in T&T with two horses, Academy Award landing the Guineas and the Derby and The Gatsby scoring in the Midsummer Classic.

Ellis was winning his fourth St Leger in eight years, having scored with Typewriter in 2012, Relampago (2014) and Marquesas last year.

“I am so proud, I am so happy with this Triple Crown win. I have always wanted to win a Triple Crown and finally I have done it,” said the 45-year-old ex-champion jockey.

It was the first Triple Crown triumph for Ellis and Maharaj.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said the Trinidadian Maharaj, who becomes the first non-Jamaican owner of a Triple Crown winner at Caymanas Park.

“Words can’t explain how I really feel about this Triple Crown win,” added Maharaj, who eyes another Classic success next week Thursday when his filly She’s So Spectacular tackles the Trinidad Midsummer Classic field at Santa Rosa Park.

The huge 1-5 favourite Supreme Soul weathered a stout challenge from his Governor’s Cup rival Sentient to score a two-length victory in the Boom Jamaica Derby at Caymanas Park on Saturday afternoon. 

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