ANTHONY NUNES’ SUPREME SOUL, and his stablemate, EARN YOUR STRIPES, should have this afternoon’s Governor’s Cup field at their mercy, especially with the absence of Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes winner, RUN THATCHER RUN, the horse they had tag-teamed in the 2000 Guineas.
Whereas EARN YOUR STRIPES had finished fifth in the Guineas, straightening third after passing the baton to second-leg runner, TOONA CILIATA, in a blistering 1:10.0 for six furlongs, setting up SUPREME SOUL to pounce on RUN THATCHER RUN, there will be no need for a relay in the Governor’s Cup.
Nunes has the best two horses in the race, by a city block, and should complete the exacta in notching his fourth Governor’s Cup title, especially with EARN YOUR STRIPES carrying 117lb, only seven pounds more than the others, bar PRINCESS ANNIE, who will have 121 because she won the Oaks.
Receiving nine pounds from SUPREME SOUL might seem a huge weight swing in EARN YOUR STRIPES’ favour but his pedigree hangs over his head like the sword of Damocles, Nuclear Wayne-Brown Sugar, ready to snap after a mile.
Despite the weight, SUPREME SOUL has class and good pace, a half-brother to 2016 Governor’s Cup winner, BIGDADDYKOOL, who, up to now, remains one of the country’s top distance horses at age six. EARN YOUR STRIPE’s flashy exercise reports, beating SUPREME SOUL in the mornings, should surprise no one after doing exactly the same thing heading into the Guineas, which his stablemate won with relative ease.
It could be argued that with no RUN THATCHER RUN around, EARN YOUR STRIPES will be more relaxed and could find an extra gear with the light weight when challenged by SUPREME SOUL. However, Nunes retaining the blinkers for a 10-furlong race makes that very doubtful and could even cost him the exacta if Anthony Thomas gets overly exuberant on the lead.
Wayne DaCosta has thrown PRINCESS ANNIE to the lions, a ‘why not?’, considering she won the Oaks at 10 furlongs, but she has all of 121lb, five less than SUPREME SOUL, the only filly in the race and second heaviest in the line-up.
PRINCESS ANNIE’s proximity to SUPREME SOUL in the handicaps tells the tale of her chances, especially after her final time of 2:13.2 in the Oaks. That leaves the matter of whether the others, most in receipt of 16lb from SUPREME SOUL, can benefit from the handicaps to turn the tables after sitting level and being outclassed in the Guineas.
The other classic-placed horse in the event is Gary Subratie’s SENTIENT, who basically ran one-paced throughout the 2000 Guineas, finishing two-and-a-half lengths third behind stablemates SUPREME SOUL and TOONA CILIATA. Considering Richard Azan’s DUKE was only a quarter-length behind SENTIENT, his fourth-place finish makes him just as good.
Whereas the Governor’s Cup has been dubbed ‘the poor man’s derby’, suggesting horses from smaller barns should pop up to beat their classic-placed and heavier rivals, due to the weight conditions of the event, a glance at the past winners points mainly in the opposite direction.
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner