Another Vigorous to reign over five and a half furlongs
ANOTHER VIGOROUS certainly made a case for grade-one recognition with a commanding victory in the seven-furlong Gladiator Trophy on December 29, flooring imported HILLY'S HALO after tracking two of the fastest horses in training - MR UNIVERSE and PATRIARCH.
Getting a second shot among open allowance company in Saturday's St Catherine Cup, the four-year-old gelding might have won back-to-back races at seven furlongs, a new-found love for middle distances. However, his overall improvement suggests cutting back to five and a half furlongs should not be a problem against what is really weaker opposition.
Carrying 117lb in the Gladiator, ANOTHER VIGOROUS attacked HILLY'S HALO and MR UNIVERSE, three-wide, at the top of the lane and sprinted off for a measured victory over late-closing ANOTHER BULLET, who was woefully outsped.
ANOTHER BULLET's connections have shot themselves in the foot for the rematch, summoning Barbadian Simon Husbands to ride at 126lb, at a furlong and a half shorter, after the seven-year-old could get into the pace when apprentice-ridden at 116lb in the Gladiator.
Though ANOTHER VIGOROUS has risen five pounds in the scale, his only real threat ought to be old rival NUCLEAR FLIGHT, who has beaten him twice, as many times as he has returned the favour. However, her victories against him were both at five furlongs straight.
Quite promising as a two-year-old two seasons ago, ANOTHER VIGOROUS got into one too many match races with PATRIARCH and missed the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, returning as a three-year-old last year, regaining form at the back end of the year when he traded two victories and with NUCLEAR FLIGHT.
A more relaxed running style
What became evident with his victories on the round course was that ANOTHER VIGOROUS had transformed from a tearaway sprinter to a more relaxed running style, which suited him greatly when he faced RADICAL and company at seven furlongs on December 1 after losing to NUCLEAR FLIGHT at five furlongs straight in November.
A seven-and-a-quarter length romp in overnight allowance company was followed by a smashing victory, up in class, in the Gladiator Trophy, the gelding's best performance to date, lowering his 1:25.2 to 1:25.0.
NUCLEAR FLIGHT's issues continue to constrain her training, hence her having only raced seven times, yet to venture in excess of five furlongs. Though she will only carry 110lb, NUCLEAR FLIGHT, if she breaks well, will have company on the lead as Anthony Nunes' EXHILARATE only knows how to run from in front.
EXHILARATE is getting her first taste of open allowance pace and is not expected to be much of a hurdle to the run-on sprinters, even if NUCLEAR FLIGHT gets off to one of her infamously poor starts. Either way, ANOTHER VIGOROUS will have the lead in his cross hairs, making him extremely tough to beat in the run for the wire.