TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
By DEREK COZIER
1963 AURELIAN (chestnut gelding, 1960)
Bred at Lowlands Estate, Tobago by the great owner/breeder George de Nobriga, AURELIAN, a son of Golden Fleece out of the mare Coscob by The Cob, was a full brother to the moderate Gold Digger, fourth to Pepperpot and Ferryboat in the 1962 Trinidad Derby Stakes.
Purchased by well known Auctioneer Max E. Ferreira, AURELIAN joined the stable of top trainer Leo V. Williams at Santa Rosa Park. He made his debut on September 1, 1962 in the Trinidad an Tobago Stakes
but met his match when runner-up to his, then more illustrious stablemate The Rambler (beaten 3 lengths) who had won a division of the Nursery Stakes a week previously.
When reappearing exactly four weeks later in the Futurity Stakes ‘, AURELIAN turned the tables on the two Nursery winners North Star and The Rambler, winning by 2 lengths. The Coscob gelding then gave 8 lbs and another 2 length beating to The Rambler a week later, and was put away
for the Christmas Meeting where he was to face the might of the Barbadians headed by Yarim from the powerful Chandler bam, unbeaten from three starts at home, Maisons Lafitte, winner of the Trumpeter Trophy in Yarim’s absence, and May May, winner of her sole outing at home, with Maisons Lafitte (gave 10lbs) - third.
AURELL4N was to play bridesmaid on his three appearances at Christmas, first to Maisons Lafitte, 29/1 winner of the Breeders Stakes, subsequently to My Fair Lady, and then to Yarim
At 3, AURELIAN had strengthened up and looked set for a great season. He won both his outings at Easter, including the Easter Guineas, and was then rested for the Trial Stakes on June 29, where he would meet the Barbadian Champion Maisons Lafitte, already winner of three
of his four starts during the current campaign including the Barbados Guineas.
AURELIAN justified his tag as odds-on favourite galloping away a 2 length winner over Tree Tops and Maisons Lafitte. He then went on to score six successes, among which were the Arima Derby Trial Stakes (1m & 130 yes); two at the Tobago Autumn Meeting held at Union Park, against the C2 & C3 class while prepping for the Trinidad Derby, and finally the Blue Riband event
on Boxing Day getting a scare from the Barbadian challenger Star Oak whom he beat by ½ length with Coralita third.
As had happened with so many top three year olds after a hectic classic campaign, a loss of form was on the cards. AURELIAN went without a subsequent success after the Derby, despite competing in twenty nine races at 4 and 5, placing only twelve times.
AURELIAN’s last race was on October 30, 1965 at
Shirvan Park when unplaced to Beach Head in the Blue Haven Hotel Trophy for D & E class Horses. Max Ferriera’s champion won 11 races with 20 placings from 48 efforts - $48, 623.00.
1967 CHIP CHIP (bay filly, 19 January 1964
lived in the shadow of her illustrious stable companion Moon River at 2, though at the outset and based on exercise form such was not considered possible. Both fillies, owned by then Minister of Petroleum & Mines, John O’Halloran, made their debuts in the Futurity Stakes at Union Park on September 24, 1966. CHIP CHIP was well fancied in the betting, with Moon River a rank outsider at odds of 67/1. Moon River reigned supreme on this day scoring by a length over CHIP CHIP; and showed that such was no fluke one week later when occupying the same placings. Whereas Moon River raced unbeaten from four outings at 2, which also included the Breeders Stakes and West Indian Tobacco Premium Stakes and had earned the mantle of Champion Juvenile; CHIP CHIP had five starts scoring twice, at the Christmas Meeting in the Creole Stakes (popularly referred to at the time as the Cowards Stakes) and Creole Handicap, placing third in between to Moon River and Flame Dancer in the W.I.T.C.O. Premium Stakes.
Both CHIP CHIP and Moon River reappeared at 3, in the Huggins Trophy (6F) for the D & E Class on Gloria Saturday 1967, prepping for the Easter Guineas forty-eight hours later. In this event CHIP CHIP was second with Moon River in fourth spot behind the older Aladdin (second in the 1966 Derby).
This was to be Moon River’s sole effort at 3, and the final performance of her short five race career as she broke down and was retired to stud, where she was quite successful.
To CHIP CHIP, now befell the task of proving that the O’Halloran pair were the best in the business, and such she did by winning the Easter Guineas with new partner Challenor Jones in the irons, by 3 lengths over Sea Gull; Trial Stakes, again from Sea Gull, Arima Derby Trial
Stakes from Knightsbridge, Hopeful Stakes, and Trinidad Derby Stakes over Follow Suit and Knightsbridge.
CHIP CHIP campaigned for one more season at 4 when winning three of her seventeen starts, mainly among the top creoles and importeds. She was at her peak between June I - 28 of 1968 when scoring a hattrick, defeating the C2 & C3 class twice, and on the opening day of the Summer Meeting when an easy 2 length winner of the Valsayn Stakes for C I horses
over 8 F & 13 0 yds at weight for age. Her final racecourse appearance was on January 4, 1969, Fourth day of the Christmas Meeting when third to the 1966 Derby winner Pegasus Plus and Astrojet in the South Caribbean Handicap for West Indian bred horses.
Sold to Martinique for stud duty, CHIP CHIP produced Tiduc, winner of the 1978 Breeders Stakes (though disqualified) and 1979 Trial Stakes, her only known foal.
CHIP CHIP won 13 races, placed 12 times from 37 outings and earned $42, 975.00. Top of Page
ROYAL COLOURS (chestnut colt 17 April 1979)
Few would dispute the claim of ROYAL COLOURS being hailed as
the best Creole bred in Trinidad & Tobago for the past 30 years. Without question this gallant little chestnut is entitled to such honour. His record on the Turf supports same-, and his achievements, against his creole contemporaries and the ‘A’ Class horses, were nothing short of brilliant.
This little lion-hearted chestnut bred and owned by Alwin Poon Tip and John Sellier, had proved a good but not outstanding two year old in 1981. He won the
Benson & Hedges Premium Stakes and Challenge Gold Cup (1200m) pluckily, holding off a determined late rally from Miss Amity. Previously he had finished second to Mercurius in the Breeders Stakes (Colts) and in the Nursery Stakes to Search Party; and third (later disqualified) in a division of the Futurity Stakes won by Royal Bell.
At 3, he blossomed into a true classic colt. His first two starts however were no indication of the best to come. Eighth, beaten
some 13 lengths by the likes of Achabaiya, Stampede, Vast Ocean and Tea Venture in the Holiday Foods Champion Stakes on his 3 y.o. debut, he then scored his only win against older company (until the Christmas Meeting) when getting up in the last stride to defeat Acabar who gave him 8.5 Kg over 1400m, in an E & Lower event at Union Park on March 13, 1982.
In the Easter Guineas ROYAL COLOURS put up a scintillating performance skating home on the bit to win by
10 lengths from Casanova, with Mercurius and Nelson deadheating for third. He then took the Whitsun Classic Stakes by 31/2 lengths; the Trial Stakes by 5 lengths; the Trinidad Derby Stakes by ¾ length from Casanova, Hopeful Stakes by ½ length, and the Black and White Creole Trophy by a head, in latter, defeating his stable companion Mercurius. Along the way he was second, beaten 5 lengths by Casanova in the Arima Derby Trial Stakes but was later disqualified, fourth in the Diamond Jubilee
Caribbean Champion Stakes - disqualified, second in the President’s Cup beaten a short head by General Streak but again disqualified (placed 4th), and in one of his finest displays, placed fourth beaten ½ length by Guaybanex, No Tears and Miss Bell in the Marlboro Clasico lnternacional del Caribe held at the El Commandante racecourse in Puerto Rico in early December; Had looked like finishing second with 50 metres to go but was pipped on the line.
At 4, the son of Calpurnius proved that he was perfectly capable of handling the top class; for he had seven starts winning twice, placed - second in three. His victories, include a facile victory in the first official Grade I race (Graded Status introduced in 1983) - the President’s Easter Trophy by a length from Windy Hill and Manaldo. Previously he had run second in the Cockspur ‘Five Star’ Gold Cup in Barbados beaten 9 lengths (gave 8 lbs) to Iron
Lover from Martinique, with the best from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in his wake. He then scored a smashing victory in the International Trust Caribbean Stakes defeating such as Ackstatic, Windy Hill and Masked Romance as well as the best from Barbados, Martinique, and the Dominican Republic in the shape of Senorita Cuquina, their Champion 3 year old of 1982. He had earlier failed to cope with Masked Romance over 1700m but put up an excellent performance as he gave the winner 6.5kg and
was only beaten a length. ROYAL COLOURS won 11 races from 30 career starts for earnings in Trinidad and Tobago of $384,117.00. He also added ($15,300 (US) and $12,000(Bds) for his two overseas exploits; such could easily have been increased by approximately $35,000.00 were it not for his running afoul of the Stewards in such lucrative races as the Futurity Stakes; Arima Derby Trial Stakes; Diamond Jubilee Caribbean Champion Stakes and President’s Cup; in which he was placed. He ended
his career classified Al, at a time when the top bracket was brimming with quality.
Among the top Importeds and Creoles which ROYAL COLOURS met and defeated include:-
Manaldo (twice winner of the Trinidad Turf Club Cup); Windy Hill (President’s Cup; William H. Scott Anniversary Stakes (twice); President’s Santa Rosa Trophy); Green Haze (President’s Santa Rosa Trophy): Masked Romance (Stakes placed - U.S.A.),
Ackstatic (President’s Cup; Nation Stakes - Track record holder); Iron Lover (Cockspur Gold Cup): Boundary Bay (Track record holder) - an impressive array of top importeds - as well as the outstanding creoles Mercurius; Casanova ; and Beheaded - all classic winners, having also defeated the B and C classes.
A game and very genuine colt, ROYAL COLOURS was truly an inspiration to local breeding. It was indeed unfortunate that he had to be put down in
October 1983 having fallen victim to the dreaded laminitis disease, as it would have been interesting to see whether he would have made a success at stud as his female line was also responsible for the 1975 English Champion Grundy.
ROYAL COLOURS is the second foal produced by Baby Princess (Our Babu/Word From Lundy), a winner in the U.K. and locally. Her first, the filly Flying Colours also by Calpurnius, was a classic winner at 2 & 3 when successful in the
Benson & Hedges Premium Stakes and Challenge Gold Cup, and Easter Guineas, and 12 races up to A Class. Through Flying Colours (dam of 1987 Whitsun Classic winner and Derby runner -up - Dancing Colours, and Touch ‘N Go ), and her Young Turnabout half sister Lundy Baby, the female line is preserved. Top of Page
1986 SKY ROCKET (bay colt, 20 February 1983)
After 23 years, yet another Triple Crown hero emerged to the credit of the family of Coscob. Aurelian, a son of Coscob ruled the roost in 1963; in 1986 it was the turn of Coscob’s great grandson SKY ROCKET (American Honour/Be Quick (Becket/Mistress Quickly - full sister to Aurelian).
Bred by Terrance O’Brien, trainer of 1961 Derby winner New Moon, at the famed Rancho Caballero Stud in D’Abadie operated by the Trestrail family; SKYROCKET was yet another with useful but not spectacular form as a juvenile.
SKY ROCKET, racing in the silks of Terrance’s son John, graced the Turf for the first time on November 9, 1985 when 7th in a Maidens Handicap for T & T bred juveniles won by Baree Bahin. On his fifth effort he broke the ice over 1400m, when a facile 6 length winner over Tones, returning a week later to win the lone event over the 1720 metres (8F & 130yds) trip for 2 year olds, scoring by ½ length from the St. Ann’s Stakes (GR 1) heroine Pernickety Pearl.
At 3, SKYROCKET started on 13 occasions with 5 victories including the Triple Crown - Easter Guineas (GR 1) defeating Catch The Buck by 13/4 lengths, Midsummer Classic (GR 1) with a powerful late rally to overhaul Baree Bahin almost at the line and win by a neck, and Trinidad Derby Stakes (GR 1) by an easy 41/2 length margin over Tones and Prince of Wales; a historic 1-2-3 in this prestigious event for trainer Joe Hadeed. Emile Ramsammy was aboard in each of
Sent to Jamaica to contest the Red Stripe Superstakes (2000m) on November 8 1986, SKY ROCKET failed to act on the sand and stay the extended trip, when a never dangerous 6th to his compatriot Baree Bahin, an upset winner of this prestigious Caribbean Invitational event.
Unplaced in the Tobago Derby Stakes (GR I 1) two weeks after his stint in Jamaica, the Triple Crown hero failed to fire on the soft ground which he disliked, finishing 6th - 31 lengths adrift of Baree Bahin, with even the top sprinter Black Jack, 5 lengths ahead of him in 5th position.
SKYROCKET bounced back to form at the Christmas Meeting 1986 when winning the Breeze Caribbean Trophy (1720m) from Baree Bahin and Quiz Kid, with a star
studded lineup, including the 1986 Barbados Derby winner Paddy Bird, 1985 Trinidad Derby winner Conquest, as well as top creoles Horatius, Stampede and Catch The Buck among the trailers.
The son of American Honor began his 4 year old campaign as he left off, with a 11/2 length win over the B & C class at the Union Park Turf Club’s Calypso Meeting on February 7, 1987. He, like others before him, went winless for the balance of that season though he did
run creditably when upgraded to 4th in the Cockspur ‘Five Star’ Gold Cup at the Garrison Savannah, won by Stangrave Park from Ubique, Bentom (disqualified) and Paddy Bird.
At 5, SKYROCKET faced the starter no less than 19 times, with two successes - on April 30, 1988 against the C & D class over 1720m from Sunset Ridge and Zephyros at Santa Rosa Park, and finally on July 2, at the ‘Big Yard’ winning by a neck from Valued
Collection, with the 1987 Derby runner-up Dancing Colours unplaced.
SKY ROCKET competed on 16 occasions at 6, in 1989, placing a mere three times; his best effort came on April I when an excellent second to champion stayer Sonata in the President’s Easter Trophy (GR I 1) for the A, B & C class. This was his best performance for some time.
The Rocket last raced on January 20, 1990 when a disappointing 11th of 13 in the
Mazda Mile for West Indian bred 3 year olds & over won by Cachito Mio, the ‘89 Derby hero. He was subsequently sold to stand at stud in Guyana and was exported during 1990.
A full brother to Moon Rocket and Rocket Man and half brother to Flying Rocket, all placed in the Trinidad Derby of 1980, 1985 and 1988 respectively , SKYROCKET won IO races, placed 17 times from 62 outings and earned $379,952.42, which placed him in 6th position on the ‘All Time Money Earners List in Trinidad and Tobago as at the end of the 1990 racing season. His dam Be Quick a moderate performer herself has brought Coscob’s female line back into focus after Aurelia’s reign 23 years previously. Her daughters - Be Quick Al 11, Quick Quack and Dancing Rocket , as well as half sisters, Sudonic and unraced granddaughter Soca Rocket among others, all survive to ensure that the dynasty will continue into the 2 1st century. Top of Page
TRIPLE CROWN WINNER NO. 9 IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
2001 CARNIVAL MESSIAH (bay colt, 28 January, 1998)
It was billed as the 50th Triple Crown, but was in fact the 49th to be completed due to the cancellation of the Derby in 1979 and Easter Guineas in 1994, as a result of equine influenza outbreaks.
At approximately 5:34 P.M. however, on September 29, racing heralded its ninth Triple Crown hero, and the first since Sky Rocket in 1986, when the Wilma Primus owned bay colt Carnival Messiah, under an extremely confident ride by jockey Dale Whittaker left his 14 rivals for dead and strode majestically to a 73/4 length
victory in the prestigious Royal Oak Derby Stakes, recording a good time of 2:08:4 for the 2000 metres Classic.
Carnival Messiah made his debut on November 18, at 2 over 1150M and was very authoratative in victory. He then finished a game runner up to Phantom Menace, beaten ¾ length in the St. James Stakes (Gr. 11) on December9, and was put away for the season.
The “Messiah” began his quest for Triple Crown glory on New Year’s Day 2001 in a non winners of 2 event over 1300M, which he won cheekily from Nando. Twenty five days later the son of Freshly Squeezed was sent over 1750M, and won easily by 3 lengths from Hail The Groom. Reverting to 1350M in the WITRA Stallion Stakes on February 17, he met a tartar in Concorde, who beat him ¾ length. Rested for two months, Carnival Messiah then
gave notice of Triple Crown dreams when easily beating Blushing Bride by 11/2 lengths in the H.C.L. Easter Guineas (Gr. 1 – 1800M) with Hail The Groom third. He then suffered defeat on May 30 in a 3 y.o. W.I. Bred handicap, when failing to give Man of Class 4.5kg going down by a head over 1750M.
Strike two – in the Clico Midsummer Classic (Gr. 1 – 1900M) on June 19 when gutsy in prevailing over old rival Phantom Menace, beating him a short head.
The one blot on the copybook came on August 18 when outfitted with new equipment for the first time, did not fire and was eased when beaten some 201/2 lengths behind Bound To Dance and New Millennium over 1750M in allowance company.
Fast Forward to September 29, and a chance at glory, which had been denied Bound To Dance last year, and before him Northern
Regent (1987) and Geronimo (1997) since Sky Rocket in 1986. The added plum was a bonus of $250,000.00 generously contributed by the CL Financial Group to the owner of any horse achieving the Triple Crown.
Dale Whittaker was quietly confident since returning from the U.S.A. a few days before the Derby to renew acquaintances with Carnival Messiah. Drawn 14, he was in fourth position before the first turn and
racing well within himself. The rest is now history. Whittaker registered his third Derby win at Santa Rosa Park (Lash Dem Lara and Adoring Groom). Mrs. Wilma Primus becoming the first woman to breed and own a Triple Crown winner. She is the sixth member of the fairer sex to win the Derby in 71 runnings of the Blue Riband Classic, while Glenn Mendez, trainer of the colt was celebrating his first success in the event.
Carnival Messiah was foaled on January 28, 1998, and is by Champion Sire Freshly Squeezed, who was recording his fourth Derby victory – Adoring Groom (1996), Groomsman (1999), New Millennium (2000) and The Messiah (2001).
Bred by Mrs. Wilma Primus and Glenn Mendez at the famed Rancho Caballero in D’abadie, Carnival Messiah is the first foal produced by the American mare Lady of the
Moment (Moment of Hope/Daddy’s Dish), a winner of 6 races - $150,825.00 who was also Stakes placed in the Champagne Stakes (Gr. 11) and Arima Race Club Cup (Gr. 1). Imported originally by Nazir Ahamad and Bernard Dulal-Whiteway for whom she had moderate success, Lady of the Moment was plucked from the claiming ranks for $18,000.00 on January 27, 1996, by Mrs. Primus who retains her pride and joy, which has also produced the 2 year old Squeezed Moment, placed once; a yearling filly
by J.D. Gump, but was barren to Freshly Squeezed this year.
Angostura Limited has been the proud sponsors of the Royal Oak Derby Stakes, the final jewel of the Triple Crown, since 1988, during which time fourteen Derbies commencing with Song ‘N Dance’s upset romp have been run.
Angostura Limited must indeed be very pleased to be associated with its first Triple Crown winner coming at the start of the new millennium – Hail ‘Carnival Messiah’.