By Neto Baptiste
Thoroughbred Syrian Soca put on a fantastic display on Sunday to capture the final leg of the Antigua Turf Club’s (ATC) Triple Crown Series, the Governor General’s Cup, at the Cassada Garden’s Race Track.
The horse, piloted by Jeff Jacobs, clocked 1:59.68 seconds to finish ahead of the field in the 9.5 furlong contest. He beat Big Deal and She’s Sensational into second and third places respectively.
Trainer for Syrian Soca, Neil Cochrane, said the animal is yet to perform at its best.
“I think he is still evolving, still growing and learning; but to me, he is showing that he has the potential to be the best that has passed through our stables; and yesterday [Sunday] he was one second off the track record, so that’s a very positive thing. He is a five-year-old horse and he is leaning his craft very quickly. He was very lightly raced when he came to Antigua because he only had seven races and one victory overseas; and when we put him up against Baba-Baba in his first time out, he wasn’t fully acclimatized but he showed enough for us to know that we had a lot of potential there,” he said.
Syrian Soca had also captured the opening leg of the Triple Crown Series, the Antigua Black Pineapple Stakes, but suffered a setback in race number two, the Sir Cuthwin Lake Super Sprint, after losing a shoe.
Cochrane, who is also president of the turf club, said this year’s Triple Crown Series lived up to standards set in previous years.
“The first two legs had real competitive races, because the second race went down to the wire; but all the races went down to the wire, so I would say from a competitive standpoint that it was fantastic. The first day really had good numbers turning out, but the last two days did not live up to the expectations, but we just have to be thankful and keep working,” he said.
The turf boss also lamented the low spectator turnout for Sunday’s Governor General’s Cup, but pointed to a number of unpredicted delays as the possible cause.
“Yesterday’s [Sunday’s] turnout wasn’t certainly what we would have wanted it to have been, but as you go deeper into the Carnival season the challenges are many, because there are so many activities and had we been able to execute in the original date when everything, I think, would have been very good and on point, but that is what it is. When life throws you lemons you make lemonade,” Cochrane said.
In other results on the day, Scrumpum made a triumphant return, winning the day’s final race, the A1 and lower six furlongs. He beat Massacre in a time of 1:11.69.
Bobadilla finished ahead of Bellamy Storm and Zaragoza in the B3 and lower over 5.5 furlongs, while Booby Alley snatched the E1 and lower six furlongs ahead of Ital and Ouch. There was victory as well for Where We At over Boom Blast and Nichola over 6.5 furlongs in the E2 and lower event, while Guilty Pleasure claimed the G2 5.5 furlongs opener ahead of Always Beautiful and Lady Ray.