ANTHONY Nunes swept five of yesterday’s last seven races, including the three feature events, extending his lead to $13.7 million ahead of 18-time defending champion, Wayne DaCosta.
Canada-based Dane Nelson, who himself bagged five winners on his first race meet back home, opening the 11-race card with MSMYRTLERICHIEGIRL, proved to be the leading trainer’s magic charm, handing him his first win, ROYAL APPROACH, via the stewards’ room, after 9-1 outsider EROY’s disqualification in the second event.
DaCosta, whose bid for a three-timer on the 11-race card was derailed by American-bred UNCLE POLLY’s flop in the event awarded to ROYAL APPROACH, predictably landed the third and sixth races with KING ARTHUR and BIG BLACK NATION, respectively, but had no answer to Nunes’ four-race flurry – LATAPY, PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCESS AVA and LEGALITY.
Apprentice Reyan Lewis helped himself to a three-timer, starting with BELTANE in the fourth, before booting home the first two of Nunes’ four consecutive winners, LATAPY and PRINCE CHARLES, in the seventh and eighth events, respectively.
Nelson, who had his second win astride CLASSY VISHALA in the fifth, topped off five-timers for himself and Nunes with stirring stretch finishes aboard PRINCESS AVA and LEGALITY in the ninth and 10th races, respectively.
Nunes’ five wins added $2.6m worth of breathing room to his $11.1m lead ahead of DaCosta, who is set to unleash his fury in this afternoon’s Diamond Mile in which he has the country’s two best horses, STRANGER DANGER and SHE’S A MANEATER, aiming at approximately $10m in stakes.
Nunes, who is aiming to win his first trainers’ title, suffered a Diamond Mile blow with the recent death of three-time runner-up, BIGDADDYKOOL. His main runner in the event is Superstakes runner-up, TOONA CILIATA.