Supreme Soul at canter for Ja Derby
SUPREME SOUL giving up 16lb at 10 furlongs and chasing down SENTIENT, 110lb, to win last month’s Governor’s Cup makes this afternoon’s Jamaica Derby a foregone conclusion, going 12 furlongs and sitting level with rivals.
Anthony Nunes can go ahead and chalk the derby’s winner’s purse to the $14 million stakes lead he holds over Wayne DaCosta, whose 14-year reign as champion hangs on a thread this season.
There is no case to be made against SUPREME SOUL except pie-in-the-sky ‘it’s a horse race, anything can happen’, or ‘he could turn up and decide not to run’, desperate arguments from racegoers who can’t find a sensible reason to oppose a favourite.
Beaten once in seven starts, losing December’s Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes by a half-length to RUN THATCHER RUN, SUPREME SOUL went on a five-race win streak, last accounting for the 2000 Guineas and Governor’s Cup at a mile and 10 furlongs, respectively.
In the Guineas, SUPREME SOUL avenged his Jamaica Two-Year-Old defeat, overhauling RUN THATCHER RUN a furlong out to score a two-length victory ahead of stablemate TOONA CILIATA.
Allowing all but PRINCESS ANNIE and EARN YOUR STRIPES 16lb in the Governor’s Cup, SUPREME SOUL ran down SENTIENT inside the last half-furlong to win by a half-length with 126lb.
A half of SUPREME SOUL’s rivals in the derby – DUKE, SENTIENT, TRICKY ONE and INSPIRED MIRACLE – will now run with 126lb, 16lb heavier than the Governor’s Cup, which was two furlongs shorter. From that bunch, the two most likely to last the additional two furlongs are SENTIENT and TRICKY ONE, second and third in the Governor’s Cup with 110lb, which says it all about their chances of beating SUPREME SOUL.
The fillies, PRINCESS ANNIE and PRINCESS AVA, winner and runner-up of the Jamaica Oaks, respectively, took different paths to the derby. PRINCESS ANNIE tested the colts and geldings in the Governor’s Cup with 121lb, finishing a decent fifth, whereas PRINCESS AVA was unleashed on non-winners-of-two races, resulting in a nine-length victory at 10 furlongs, carrying 111lb.
Run three weeks apart, the winning times of the Oaks and Governor’s Cup, both 10-furlong events, 2:13.2 and 2:08.2, respectively, tells the tale of the tape between the fillies and the colts, though PRINCESS ANNIE can be credited for running an improved race against the boys.
Nunes last won the derby in 2016, his fourth victory, awarded the event in the stewards’ room after a double disqualification resulted in first and second-past-the-post, DaCosta’s FUTURE KING and his own BIGDADDYKOOL, had their numbers taken down and the event awarded to ORPHEUS, ridden by Shane Ellis, who will land his fifth win this afternoon with SUPREME SOUL.