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Hello Yankee wins Graham romps in ‘Classic’
Hello Yankee, superbly ridden by former champion jockey Wilmer Galviz, outran six rivals to win yesterday’s feature Grade One Sagicor Independence Cup over 1,800 metres on a the main track at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
The John O’Brien-trained four-year-old colt had to repel the late challenge of outsider Street Charm to win easier than the 3/4 length winning margin suggests. Last year’s winner, Chief Commander with Nela Mohammed aboard came with a rattle at the end but could not land a blow at the winner. The well backed Crown Point was fourth.
Punters made the Roland Khan -owned Hello Yankee the 6/5 favourite, with Straight Ahead and Crown Point both well supported at 2/1 and and 7/2, respectively.
The market also spoke in favour of Chief Commander, well backed from 5/1 to 7/2, before easing out to 5/1.
When the horses were sent on their way, Straight Ahead broke smartly, along with Be Alert and Hello Yankee, with Crown Point and Chief Commander following.
At the far turn, Straight Ahead was joined by Hello Yankee, as Crown Point was pushed along with Chief Commander easing up while Street Charm made eyecatching progress.
At the top of the straight, a loud roar erupted as Hello Yankee struck the front with his rivals queing up to challenge.
However, in the final 200 metres Street Charm came to challnge but failed by 3/4 length to catch the ready winner.
Hello Yankee registered the time of 1:54.2 for the trip.
A happy O’Brien, who has now won the event on five occasions, said:
“Hello Yankee is a good racehorse and it was nice to see him bounce back from his dispapointing display last time out. Galviz rode him with confidence and I really was not worried when he struck the front. He is a classy racehorse which was given a grand ride.”
Owner Roland Khan also echoed those sentiments and stated, “It is always a great feeling to win a big race on a big day.”
Graham showed his undoubted class in the Sagicor Santa Rosa Classic, atoning for his defeat in the Guineas.
The O’Brien-trained three-year-old outsped seven rivals to win easing down by 6 3/4 lengths from Luca’s Gold, with Keep The Faith in third. The odds-on favourite flew out of the stall under Galviz and was never headed.
Personal Decision showed that he was a top class horse by slaughtering the opposition in the Sagicor Life Solutions Handficap 2 and Lower event, over 1,200 metres. The Merlin Sanmlalsingh owned colt cruised into the lead from Ready Set Jet 600 metres out and sauntered home by 11 lengthd in the time of 1:14.2. Speekinginparbles stayed on to be second.
The day’s riding honours went to Brian Harding who rode three winners in Forward Tracking, Piarco and Chlorotic.
Training honour for the day was shared between champion trainer John O’Brien and Harriam Gobin who both saddled two winners apeice..
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