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BARBADOS - horse racing - Slade Callaghan
by Sherrylyn Clarke
As the sun set on a beautiful day of racing at the Garrrison in March 2004 Callaghan reached the mountain top of his career by piloting seven-year-old chestnut horse Kathir to the $114 000 first prize in the 23rd Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, overcoming the odds and beating those favoured by the pundits all week.
“It is a great feeling to always win a big race in Barbados. They put so much emphasis on this race, so much support through the media, through all the people involved in the horse racing business and tourism. It is just great to win a race like this today,” Callaghan told SUNSPORT as he triumphantly trotted back to the weight room after claiming the biggest race in the Eastern Caribbean.
“We had a great trip, and I would like to thank Mr [Eugene] Melnyk and Mr [Todd] Pletcher for giving me the chance to ride this horse. We just had a perfect trip today. He ran really well. When I asked him to respond he was there the whole way. I had too use the whip a bit, but you always have to in a race this big. He was just the better horse today.”
Callaghan also told reporters the pressure put on pre-race favourite Sharp Impact by local horse Feet On Flames worked to his benefit.
“I thought I would be more in the middle of the pack but I found myself in third and I was quite happy to stay there. I didn’t have to ask him to stay there. Today, I just ended up being on the best horse.
“I was going to stay just off the pace – which I did – and it worked out perfectly. It was a perfect trip and I can’t ask for anything better,” Callaghan said.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was not in the island, but farm manager Phil Hronec was extremely pleased with the result.
“This is my second year. I was here last year with Warleigh [who placed second] and Zoning. We went from second to first. I love it,” Hronec said.
He admitted that Moonshine Hall was more favoured of the two entries, but he was sixth overall with Patrick Husbands onboard.
“I think in time Moonshine Hall will be the better horse. He is a ly turned four-year-old and hasn’t raced in about 90 days, but in my heart, I really think class-wise, Moonshine is the better horse. If everything goes well, we will bring him back next year with somebody else to win this thing.
“I thought Kathir ran a super race. He is a well-travelled, seasoned seven-year-old, and we thought he would turn well. He adjusted well to this environment and showed what he could do.”
Both Callaghan and Hronec said the slightly damp turf might have also had an impact on the race, but it did not affect Kathir.
“Looking at the track right here, you don’t want to see these divots and stuff, but they all have to run on it. It was a nice, safe race and the best horse won,” Hronec said.
Meanwhile, Callaghan continued to bask in the glory of his victory after Kendalarra was beaten in race four.
“This is the first win for the day. I came second, I got beaten by a nose, but this is the best,” he said.
Compliments of the Nation News
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