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After being away from the winner’s circle for nearly 18 months, the Shaffique Khan trained Holy Man returned to the winner’s enclosure yesterday for the first time since 2016, after he won the feature event at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
Sent off as the 2-1 second favourite behind the Harold Chadee trained Set Sail, the Aga Stables owned seven-year-old horse was a head in front of Set Sail at the line.
When the starter sent the seven-horse field on its way Rocket Wheels, Holy Man, Desert Dancer and Set Sail were jostling for the lead. However, after 200 metres Holy Man showed with the advantage from Desert Dancer and Set Sail as Rocket Wheels was relegated to fourth. These were followed by Ekati’s Gem, Eye See You and Scotus which trailed the field.
At the far turn, Holy Man led by half-a-length in the Modified Benchmark Handicap for three-old and over horses, over 1,200 metres on the main track but he was being challenged by Desert Dancer and the favourite Set Sail with Ricky Jadoo astride.
At the top of the straight Holy Man still led as Desert Dancer hoisted the white flag with Ricky Jadoo bringing Set Sail on the outside to deliver her challenge. Inside the final 300 metres the pair settled down to fight out the finish and the more Set Sail threw at the leader Holy Man, Sheldon Rodrigo kept getting that little extra more from his mount to run out a worthy winner.
Rocket Wheels stayed on for third 3 1/2 lengths further back with Eye See You finishing in fourth spot. Holy Man recorded the time of 1:13.06 for the trip.
Training honours for the day were shared between Harriram Gobin and Shaffique Khan both of whom saddled two winners apiece.
No jockey was able to ride more than one winner during the eight-race card.
Racing continues next week at the centralized facility.
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