Watson, Bernard in keen owners battle
LEADING owners Carlton Watson and Michael Bernard, who campaign horses under the nom de plume Michros, continued their rivalry on yesterday’s 10-race card in an owners’ championship battle, which remains closely contested with two and a half months left in the season.
Watson, who started the day leading Bernard by a paltry $69,700, fell behind after his rival’s two-year-old debutant, 8-1 upsetter NIPSTER, won the $1.1 million Front Runner Sprint, picking up $600,600.
However, Watson immediately responded with two winners, 6-5 favourite SUMMER SUN, who pounced on rivals in the fifth event at nine furlongs and 25 yards, and 13-1 upsetter BAND OF GOLD, in the seventh, earning stakes of $900,900.Watson has one title under his belt whereas Bernard is hunting his first after losing a close battle with Elite Bloodstock, going down on trophy value in 2012.
The trainers’ championship, which has seen incumbent Wayne DaCosta chomped into Anthony Nunes’ lead for the last four racemeets, inclusive of big-race victories by stable stars STRANGER DANGER and SHE’S A MANEATER in the Invitational Mile and Superstakes, respectively, could take an interesting turn on tomorrow’s holiday card.Nunes has 16 runners on the 10-race programme, 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.
Nunes has mobbed the seven and a half furlong open allowance with five runners, pitting his 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.