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. 

The 7-5 favourite Supreme Soul delivered a stout winning performance with ex-champion jockey Shane Ellis aboard in the Jamaica 2000 Guineas on Sunday to give trainer Anthony Nunes a sweep of the weekend’s Classics at Caymanas Park.

The chestnut colt flew past his rivals down the homestretch to win by two lengths over stablemate Toona Ciliata (7-1) as the 3-2 second favourite and previously undefeated Run Thatcher Run faded to seventh. Supreme Soul clocked one minute 38.80 seconds for the one-mile trip.

“I can’t be any happier,” Nunes told SportsMax.TV after his one-two finish while his other starters Earn Your Stripes (4-1) and Tricky One (99-1) placed fifth and sixth respectively.

“I am happy with all my entrants, they all ran to the best of their ability,” added Nunes, who became only the third trainer in 25 years to win both Guineas Classics.

Supreme Soul, who endured his only career defeat on Boxing Day last December to Run Thatcher Run in the Supreme Ventures Jamaica two-year-old Stakes, avenged the loss with authority.

He broke briskly from post position 14 and uncharacteristically went for the lead, racing with the pacesetters for over a furlong before giving way to more pacey rivals.

Leaving the half-mile, Nunes’s pair of Toona Ciliata and Earn Your Stripes together with the 9-1 bet Father Patrick and a fast-moving Run Thatcher Run quickened toward the final bend with Supreme Soul three lengths off the pace and being whipped up by Ellis to stay within striking distance.

Run Thatcher Run had the biggest surge when the field straightened for the homestretch and briefly moved ahead of Toona Ciliata and Earn Your Stripes but Supreme Soul produced his winning run widest on the outside and was overpowering in the final furlong en route to his fifth win in six career starts.

Toona Ciliata held his gallop for the runner-up spot and the 15-1 bet Sentient closed steadily on the rails for third.

Supreme Soul’s win sets him up for a run at the Triple Crown and Ellis expects no obstacles in the 12-furlong Derby in June and the late July St Leger over 10 furlongs.

“There is no three-year-old in the country that can beat this horse going two turns,” Ellis boldly declared.

Nunes joins Gary Subratie with his 2011 wins Niphal (1000 Guineas) and Big Man Boyu (2000 Guineas) and Wayne DaCosta two years ago with She’s a Maneater (1000 Guineas) and Fearless Samurai (2000 Guineas) as trainers in the past quarter of a century to land the Guineas double.

The huge filly I Am Di One dwarfed her rivals with a smashing win in the Jamaica 1000 Guineas on Saturday afternoon at Caymanas Park under a confident front-running ride from Barbadian jockey Simon Husbands. 

The chestnut colt Run Thatcher Run delivered a courageous win in the Supreme Ventures Jamaica Two Year-Old Stakes Wednesday and propelled Wayne DaCosta firmly toward his 18th Trainers’ Championship title at Caymanas Park. 

The improving five-year-old horse Will in Charge secured a nervy win by a short head in a high drama Diamond Mile Saturday afternoon after horse-of-the-year, She’s a Maneater, was scratched following a bizarre starting gate incident at Caymanas Park.

Nearing the finish of the JA$14 Million (US$115,000) event, Will in Charge was surging to victory but his rider Robert Halledeen considerably eased his mount in a premature celebration and was forced to endure a tense photo-finish decision before confirmation he had beaten the fast finishing 5-2 bet Bigdaddykool by a short head. Chace the Great was a further 4-1/2 lengths back in third.

“I almost had a heart attack but he won and that’s all that matters,” winning trainer Robert Pearson told SportsMax.TV.

Moments before the start, the 3-5 favourite She’s a Maneater in the 12-box – with the field almost fully loaded – bolted from the gates when she was spooked by the horse beside her, Peking Cruz, who became fractious and hurt himself lashing out in post-position 11.

After a lengthy 17-minute delay to the start with the filly She’s a Maneater and Peking Cruz scratched, the 42-1 outsider Mr Universe led down the backstretch, stalked by Caribbean Sprint Championship winner Chace the Great (6-1), Money Magnet (12-1) and the 1000 Guineas winner and 99-1 bet Disability Charm.

The running order remained similar heading to the half-mile as Will in Charge moved closer to the lead.

Ex-champion jockey Dane Nelson roused Chace the Great to lead coming off the final turn as Halledeen accelerated with Will in Charge to challenge on the outside for the lead while Mr Universe and Money Magnet faded.

Will in Charge had already collared Chace the Great as the horses darted past the eighth pole down the homestretch and Bigdaddykool who came off the final bend in eighth position was motoring forward in a stout victory bid.

Approaching the finish, Halledeen – unaware of the rapid gains Bigdaddykool was making on the rails – stopped pushing his mount and title-chasing Panamanian jockey Dick Cardenas drove the Anthony Nunes five year-old to finish heads-on at the finish with Will in Charge, who clocked one minute 37 seconds in victory as the 3-5 favourite.

“It (my celebration) was a premature move and it was very stupid,” Halledeen said in the winners’ enclosure interview.

“I think because She’s a Maneater was scratched I became super confident,” he added, explaining his almost catastrophic error at the finish.

Bigdaddykool was placing second in CARICOM’s richest horse for the third year in a row but his JA$2.2 million (US$17,500) purse earning as runner-up propelled Nunes ahead of Wayne DaCosta in their riveting battle for the 2018 Trainers’ Championship.

Anthony Nunes, trainer of BigDaddyKool believes it is going to take something special for his charge to win the US$100,000 Diamond Mile this Saturday at Caymanas Park.

Top trainer Anthony Nunes is eyeing an upset win in Saturday’s fourth staging of the rich Diamond Mile at Caymanas Park to propel him to a first-ever trainers’ Championship title in Jamaican horse racing.

Runner-up to reigning champion Wayne DaCosta an irksome 10 times, Nunes has Oaks winner Fayrouz as a confirmed starter and his five-year-old gelding Bigdaddykool standing by – because of relative inactivity this year -- as a first reserve for the US$115,000 dollar event.

The post-position draw is set for Wednesday but regardless of which charges Nunes will have in CARICOM’s richest horse racing event, he knows he will have to upset the odds to win.

“She’s a Maneater has to be the favourite and Will in Charge a very close second favourite,” Nunes told SportsMax.TV.

Horse of the year and defending champion She’s a Maneater and improving Gold Cup winner Will In Charge are in a swift rematch after a gripping stride-for-stride duel in the November 10 Superstakes when the four-year-old filly won by a short head, snapping a three-race losing streak against Robert Pearson’s improved five-year-old.

She’s a Maneater and Will in Charge were 7-1/2 lengths better than third-placed Bigdaddykool in the Superstakes and Nunes knows only a vast turnaround in form for his recent Nigel Nunes Memorial Cup winner can see him interrupting the rematch.

“Those two horses are tough to beat but they run the races for a reason so we’re gonna train as if we’re gonna go in there and try and upset,” Nunes stated.

DaCosta has won every staging of the Diamond Mile so far using back-to-back victories with Seeking My Dream in 2015 and 2016 before She’s a Maneater’s flawless 6-3/4 length win last year ahead of the Nunes pair of Bigdaddykool and Houdini’s Magic.

Any desire Nunes had of unseating 17-time champion trainer DaCosta in recent years had been scuppered by these DaCosta Diamond Mile triumphs considerably boosting stakes earnings in the critical season-ending December period.

DaCosta enters the final month of the season with stakes earnings of JA$55.09 million (US$434,500) stalked by Nunes at JA$54.13 million (US$426,957).

“It (DaCosta’s Diamond Mile wins) impacted the trainers’ title race the last two years and it has affected us negatively, we ran second and third to She’s A Maneater in 2017 and Seeking my Dream the year before,” Nunes said, highlighting his identical second and third place finishes with the same horses Bigdaddykool and Houdini’s Magic consecutive years in 2016 and 2017.

Fayrouz was fourth in the Invitational Mile on Superstakes day beaten 7-1/2 lengths by DaCosta’s three-year-old colt Without Exception and appears -- on the strength of that effort -- a weaker Diamond Mile prospect than Nunes’s other nominee Bigdaddykool, who Nunes may use to displace the already qualified Fayrouz.

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