Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Nunes primed for Heroes Day sweep

Published:Monday | October 21, 2019 | 12:17 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

LEADING trainer Anthony Nunes has 16 runners on this afternoon’s 10-race card, which could see him sweeping five of the first six events with ante-post favourites – KALAHARI, PRINCESS AVA, EARN YOUR STRIPES, SUPREME SOUL and two-year-old debutant, ROYAL APPROACH.

However, the race Nunes has mobbed with five runners, the seven-and-a-half furlong open allowance, pitting Triple Crown winner, SUPREME SOUL, against SUPERLUMINAL in a rematch, after their Mark My Word Trophy battle at nine furlongs and 25 yards, a month ago, could be the one that denies him a five-timer.

In September’s Mark My Word, SUPREME SOUL bolted to the front from the gate and stablemate BRUCE WAYNE took over down the backstretch. His mount burdened with 126lb, Omar Walker could not afford to kill SUPERLUMINAL on the bridle and tried his best to steal a march after getting rid of BRUCE WAYNE.

However, SUPREME SOUL was on top of his game then, rested for two months after his St Leger win, and reasonably busy at exercise, not to mention the seven pounds he was receiving from SUPERLUMINAL, allowing him to quickly renew his challenge coming off the home turn, eventually overpowering the ­seven-year-old a furlong out.

Having raced two weeks ago in the Superstakes, SUPREME SOUL has done nothing but cantered since. Heading into the Superstakes, he had laboured six furlongs in 1:17.1, his sole speed gallop after outbattling SUPERLUMINAL in the Mark My Word.

A nine-pound swing in the scale, SUPREME SOUL, up by seven, and SUPERLUMINAL, two down, tends to favour the pacier oldstager, especially at seven and a half furlongs, the distance at which he clocked 1:31.1, beating HOUDINI’S MAGIC in March’s King Plate.

That afternoon, it was Gary Subratie’s NUCLEAR FLIGHT, who had tried matching strides with SUPERLUMINAL, who turned her back in a six-furlong split of 1:10.4, ­carrying 122lb with Walker.

SUPERLUMINAL breezed six furlongs in full battle gear on Tuesday, cheekpieces, tongue tie and figure eight, whereas SUPREME SOUL again cantered, not a good sign for what will be all-out war at a distance at which he had to be ridden out to catch UNIVERSAL BOSS in February.

This afternoon will be crucial for Nunes, who is sitting on a reduced lead in the ­trainers’ championship after champion DaCosta chomped off more than $3m for the last four racemeets, inclusive of SUMMER SUN on Saturday and recent big-race victories by stable stars STRANGER DANGER and SHE’S A MANEATER in the Invitational Mile and Superstakes, respectively.