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Alexandra's Spirit scores stunning upset

Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer

Yesterday's midweek programme at Caymanas Park was highlighted by a stunning upset in the seventh race over the straight by the rank outsider ALEXANDRA'S SPIRIT.

Running at the fantastic odds of 217-1 with 3.0kg claiming apprentice Everton Bennett aboard, the three-year-old grey filly made virtually all on the far rails in the three-year-old maiden condition race to win by a length from the fast-finishing 1-2 favourite, RIP CURRENT, with former champion Shane Ellis aboard.

RIP CURRENT was only a head in front of the debutante ALESIA WAY (9-1), who chased the winner relentlessly under journeyman jockey David 'Scorcher' McKenzie, until losing second within shades of the wire in the 14-horse field.

Successive racedays

By Kerrygold out of Circle Syndrome, ALEXANDRA'S SPIRIT, who had shown little in 11 previous starts, is owned and bred by Andrew Azar and trained by Gary Griffiths. This was the second winner for Azar in successive racedays, following THE REBEL last Saturday.

Later in the afternoon, EL PEQUENO (3-1) capitalised on the late withdrawal of ante-post favourite NAVAJOJOE (lame) to win the circular nine feature for the Dr David 'Jack' Radix Memorial Cup (claiming $180,000) by 6-3/4 lengths.

Badly outpaced for most of the way as JACKENIMBLE led narrowly from FOX MAN and SIMPLY AWESOME in a field of eight, EL PEQUENO, with 3.0kg claiming apprentice Lenroy Collins aboard, made rapid headway from the half-mile to straighten (outside) within striking distance of the leader. He swept past SIMPLY AWESOME (5-2) approaching the distance and moved away for an emphatic victory.

EL PEQUENO is owned by Carol D. Campbell and trained by Desmond Shand. The six-year-old horse by Royal Minister out of the 1998 St Leger winner My Lady Silk duly made it two in a row, having won narrowly over 1400 metres on April 13.

Collins, who will become a full-fledged jockey in another two months, rode a patient race as usual.

"This horse takes a lot of riding and right now I am breathless," he said shortly after the race. "The leaders were carrying the pace pretty fast so I just sat and waited on them to come back. In the end it was an armchair ride."