The ‘Bigman’ is a giant among peers

IT is really uncanny how one performance can ignite the passion of racing fans. That one performance, blessed with assurance, blessed with that special quality which removes it from the level of the mundane, even the good, to one of genuine excellence.

That is exactly what happened at Caymanas Park on Saturday last for one minute and thirty nine seconds when the clocked stopped at the end of a non-winners of two-three-year-old event, the ninth race of 10 on the day.

It was in that event, Bigman In Town, trained by Gary Subratie and ridden by Omar Walker, graced the track for his second lifetime start. The first was 77 days before in a six-furlong event for maidens which he duly obliged. They were many questions: Why did he take so long to return? What kind of condition was the ‘Bigman’ in despite glowing exercise reports? Had he recovered enough from a virus? And could he move from six furlongs to a mile and do well?

In just over a minute and a half all those questions were answered. In what can only be described as a command performance, Bigman In Town decimated his peer opposition, including the much thought of Rum Punch, causing a noticeable hush at the Park as the connoisseurs, the pundits, the uninitiated, and media personnel gasped for air as they scrambled to make comparisons and analyse the moment.

As expected, it was Rum Punch with Dick Cardenas who went to the lead from the start of the race. The ‘Bigman’ drafted on his outside before challenging from the four-furlong marker, and that was that. The Cowtown Cat-My Morning Prayer chestnut colt moved ahead and when they entered the straight facing a very heavy wind, the afterburners were switched on.

The ‘Bigman’ simply flew at this stage, moving further and further away for a 16-length victory. That Rum Punch was second and AgaKhan third was merely for a statistical notation. The ‘Bigman’ did not even break a sweat in this race, and if someone had placed a candle in front of him after the race it would still be glowing even now.

The run by Bigman In Town suggests he is in tip-top shape and ready for his next assignment, which will be on April 6 in the one-mile 2,000 Guineas for colts and geldings only. He has vaulted himself into the favourite’s position and it will be a brave punter who goes against him.

Yet racing is racing and anything can happen. Bigman In Town is endowed with unique talent; he must now go on to prove it in the big races like the Guineas, the Derby, the St Leger and the Superstakes. So, while we breathe the rarified air of his special performances, let us place our effusiveness into perspective and wait. The races have to be run.

We now have a dream situation for the 2,000 Guineas. Willie Goldsmith has been very impressive too, and before this performance of eminence by the ‘Bigman’ was the undisputed leader of the pack and there is also Rock Union, unbeaten as well and obviously talented. It is a promoter’s dream going into the 2,000 Guineas — three unbeaten horses, three horses of undoubted class, and three horses who have captured the imagination of racing fans. What more could CTL ask for? Run with it!

WALKER’S DILEMMA

Leading rider Omar Walker now finds himself with a decision to make. He is the appointed jockey for Willie Goldsmith, trained by Patrick Chang and Bigman In Town trained by Subratie. Who said racing was ever an easy endeavour? Walker, the now freelance rider is enjoying the best of both worlds, but now finds himself in a somewhat ticklish situation.

Chatter, fluttering at the Park on Sunday, included the scenario of overseas intervention. Bigman In Town is owned by Trinidadians and the talk suggested they might be inclined to bring down one of their own jockeys to ride on Guineas Day. This is but speculation at this time, if however it is so, Walker will be on Willie Goldsmith.

It has been a very long time that we are in the position of having such competition going into the Classic season. Let’s therefore use the opportunity to inject much-needed life into the troubled arena of horse racing.

Omar Walker drives home Bigman In Town to victory at Caymanas Park on Saturday. (PHOTO: HURBUN WILLIAMS)

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