In-form Robert Halledeen had to put pedal to metal aboard 4-5 favourite NUCLEAR NOON late in Saturday’s five-furlong round overnight allowance event at Caymanas Park to outfinish ALEXA’S LODGE, DEEP BLUE SEA and WILSON.
NUCLEAR NOON exploded from fourth a half-furlong out to win by a length-and-quarter, clocking 1:00.1 in the closing event, allowing two-time defending champion trainer, Anthony Nunes, to stay within striking distance of stakes-leader Jason DaCosta.
DaCosta had earlier extended his $322,000 lead in the eighth event with his 6-5 chance, UNRULY BOSS, who outsped Nunes’ 4-5 favourite, SANTORINI, at a mile, winning by three-quarter length in 1:40.0.
Though Nunes expected NUCLEAR NOON to make up for SANTORINI’s loss, he faced anxious moments with his runner caught behind horses in the stretch run with DEEP BLUE SEA trying to steal home.
However, NUCLEAR NOON, this year’s 2000 Guineas runner-up used his class to mow down DEEP BLUE SEA, who lost second at the wire to ALEXA’S LODGE. Unlucky WILSON, searching for racing room on the inner, had to settle for fourth.
Six-time former champion Omar Walker booted home back-to-back winners, BRINKS and STORM BORN, in the second and third events to share the day’s riding honours with Javaniel Patterson, who had opened the programme with ZI BEAST before winning the ninth with a front-running ride astride 8-1 outsider AJITA.
Racing continues Sunday afternoon with a nine-race card.