Mon | Aug 3, 2020

Duke ready for winning run

Published:Saturday | February 8, 2020 | 12:14 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
DEE DANGER (left), ridden by Shamaree Muir, wins the 10th race at Caymanas Park on Saturday, February 1.
DEE DANGER (left), ridden by Shamaree Muir, wins the 10th race at Caymanas Park on Saturday, February 1.

CHAMPION owner Michros’ DUKE has worked really well for today’s closing event, stretched out at seven furlongs, only the third time he will go beyond six and a half in his last seven races, a more relaxed pace, which will suit his running style.

In his last speed gallop, DUKE improved on his previous five-and-a-half furlong workout, two weeks prior, clocking 1:06.2 on Sunday, bettering by two full seconds his 1:08.2 on January 19.

DUKE has been begging for the right distance and company, finishing no farther than fourth in his last seven races, mainly sprints, against lightning-fast horses, who give no quarter when the trip and handicaps are in their favour.

Last time out, two Sundays ago, topweight DUKE was outsped at five and a half furlongs, closing from eighth at the half-mile marker, to finish third, beaten two and a half lengths by all-the-way ­winner FORMAL FASHION, who he allowed 10lb.

The runner-up, back-to-form BALTUSROL, was in receipt of 16lb from DUKE for a three-quarter length margin in a fast-run race, completed in 1:06.0.

Before his last race, DUKE took on seven and a half furlongs but ran smack into out-of-class SENTIENT in a non-winners-of three, for three- and four-year-olds, an event in which the Superstakes and Diamond Mile-placed runner pulled away a furlong and a half out to win by seven lengths in 1:30.3.

DUKE was clearly second-best, enjoying the trip, holding on for second from ­classic-placed TRICKY ONE, after coming off the turn second behind KING TAVARI then chasing SENTIENT for the remainder of the stretch run.

UNIVERSAL BOSS is the lone speed and will try controlling the pace from in front. However, with Simon Husbands aboard UNIVERSAL BOSS, expect him to weigh out at approximately 120lb, not 115, as declared, putting the speedster too close to DUKE, the stalker, who won’t go an ounce over 121lb with Anthony Thomas astride.

Thomas has the patience of Job, probably too much at times, but won’t go wrong in taking his time to pick UNIVERSAL BOSS apart after tracking him into the lane. DUKE has had the better of UNIVERSAL BOSS in their last three meetings, all at shorter distances.