In these columns, having touted a rivalry between former champions Dane Nelson and Anthony Thomas for the 2020 riding honours, the latter has now seized the initiative in no uncertain terms by accumulating seven winners in two days and 15 over the last four race meetings with Nelson riding only one on the same cards.
Thomas was in front by over five lengths with Steven Todd’s former crack sprinter Mr Universe to land the opening event on the eight-race Sunday programme.
Predictably, Alford Brown’s maiden Primal Fear (Oshane Nugent), who was disqualified from first eight days earlier due to a strict interpretation of what constitutes “herding” which caused a spill, made no mistake and was never off the bridle for any length of time to win the second event.
Running off a very favourable weight allotment, trainer Ryan Darby’s Reassurance responded to the persuasion of reinsman Javaniel Patterson to finish best by over two lengths in winning the third half-an-hour before Nelson’s drought was broken in the fourth with a clear-cut six-length victory aboard Rowan Mathie’s heavily raced filly Lady Rattapur who was out for the 18th time this year.
The Thomas dominance resumed in the fifth when Fitznahum Williams’ speedy filly Ocean Wave led and never looked likely to be challenged in scoring by nine lengths in a fast 1:06.3 for 5 ½ furlongs.
Thomas’ assault continued in the sixth when A Seh Soup survived a steward’s inquiry looking at an incident resembling interference with, and intimidation of, competitive main rival Friendly Neighbour (Jordan Barrett) much to the relief of trainer Henry Harrison Jr.
In winning the seventh, the talented Thomas kept favourite My Episode, trained by Ryan Williams, on the bridle in the front rank before inducing the final sprint to a four-length victory margin.
Trainer Wayne DaCosta’s progressive US-bred sprinter Sir Alton took up the running in the upper straight and won the eighth easily having been thrown in at the handicaps by dint of the conditions of entry, which gave the impressive colt 10 pounds less than he toted in his previous race.
Thomas, therefore, with this five-timer has now ridden 59 winners this season leaving Nelson on 46.
The Training Feat Award is presented to Fitznahum Williams for the obvious improvement shown by Ocean Wave in her smart final time referred to earlier with the split time for the first half-mile of 45.4, run against a stronger headwind in the straight, identical to that of the highly rated Sir Alton.
Best Winning Gallop accolade also goes to the filly and the Jockeyship Award is for Anthony Thomas, not for any special stand-out performance, but for his display overall with each opportunity.
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