Raging dead-heat rematch for Saturday’s Jamaica’s 2000 Guineas

By Lance Whittaker June 04, 2021
PICTURE CAPTION – Kingston Graded Stakes dead-heat finish on May 8 at Caymanas Park with Further and Beyond (Dane Nelson) on the inside and Miniature Man (Dick Cardenas) on the outside. PICTURE CAPTION – Kingston Graded Stakes dead-heat finish on May 8 at Caymanas Park with Further and Beyond (Dane Nelson) on the inside and Miniature Man (Dick Cardenas) on the outside.

Last month’s Kingston Stakes dead-heat winners Miniature Man and Further and Beyond clash in a highly anticipated rematch when Jamaica’s Triple Crown Classic Series kicks off with the Guineas races at Caymanas Park this weekend.

Champion trainer Anthony Nunes has declared his 2020 Champion two-year-old (2YO) colt Further and Beyond fitter for Saturday’s JA$3.75 million (US$25,195) 2000 Guineas than he was for last month’s Kingston Stakes.

“He has just progressively gotten fitter and fitter and we are happy with his fitness level,” Nunes told SportsMax this week. “I think he is as fit as we can make him.”

Meanwhile, Miniature Man’s form suggests his current rate of improvement is probably the most pronounced of all the 3YOs and could nullify Further and Beyond’s upgraded fitness.

“He’s improving at the right time. He is training well and I think he is coming to give us a good performance again,” trainer Jason DaCosta said of his charge.

Saturday’s one-mile Guineas is half-a-furlong longer than the 7-1/2-furlong Kingston Stakes just under a month ago and Miniature Man’s rousing finish coming from behind, suggests in theory, that he will relish the extended journey.

“He is the kind of horse that stays forever so I think the longer they go should be the better for him,” DaCosta said.

Both horses have already won over a mile, Further and Beyond flawless in his Supreme Ventures Jamaica 2YO Stakes triumph last December in a pretty-quick one minute 39 and 3/5ths of a second and Miniature Man had an April 17 win over the trip in 1:41 and 2/5ths.

Miniature Man is listed in the official race programme Track & Pools as the 7-5 morning line favourite ahead of Further and Beyond (5-2).

Trainers Nunes and DaCosta will saddle as many as 12 starters in the 16-horse 2000 Guineas field.

The rematch buzz is also amplified by commotion over the race-day judges’ ruling of a dead-heat in the May 8 Kingston event, with Miniature Man’s owner Elizabeth DaCosta – convinced her gelding narrowly won – challenging the dead-heat decision. DaCosta’s appeal has triggered a referral by the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) to its First Instance Tribunal to settle the disputed result.

Beaten 4-1/2 lengths on debut by Miniature Man in a Maiden 2YO race in October last year, Further and Beyond, owned by Rajendra Poonai and Vikram Oditt both from Guyana, Rawdon Persad from Trinidad and Tobago and the Barbadian Elias Haloute, quickly improved and now boasts a lifetime-record of five wins in seven starts. Miniature Man has three wins in eight starts.

Undefeated in two starts as a 3YO, Further and Beyond comes into the rematch more favourably at the scales as both horses now shoulder 126 pounds, compared to the Kingston when Nunes’s colt toted the 126-pound topweight and Miniature Man had 117 pounds.

The jockeys are also in the rematch story after the Kingston dead-heat. Four-time champion rider Dane Nelson, eyeing his first 2000 Guineas triumph, is aboard Further and Beyond again and Panama-born Dick Cardenas mounts Miniature Man targeting his third win in the Colts and Geldings Guineas, having scored previously with Mark my Word (2010) and Uncle Donny (2012).

Other leading contenders in the 2000 Guineas are Miniature Man’s stablemate Billy Whizz (4-1) and Nuclear Noon (9-2) from the Nunes barn.

Regal and Royal, a surprise third-place finisher in the Kingston at 99-1 odds, earns more betting respect this weekend, showing at 8-1 in the morning line odds.

Nunes goes into the weekend with a mammoth log of 23 Classic wins while DaCosta, recently back home -- from his base in the USA -- to run his late father Wayne DaCosta’s successful stable operations, has never won a Jamaican Classic.

For Saturday’s 1000 Guineas, the 7-5 favourite is She’s a Wonder from Ian Parsard’s barn. Undefeated as a 3YO, She’s a Wonder scored a pressured half-length win the May 1 Guineas prep Portmore Graded Stakes over Sensational Ending and Secret Identity, who are both back to challenge her again. DaCosta’s Sensational Ending is at 2-1 in the morning line odds and Secret Identity, trained by former jockey Tensang Chung is the 9-5 second favourite.

SportsMax 2 has live coverage of the Jamaica Guineas Classics on Saturday from 4:00 pm (5 E Caribbean).

 

 

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