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The Rebel leads them home in CTL Claiming
Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
THE REBEL, administered Lasix and eased in the weights as well, made all convincingly to win the fifth and penultimate race in the CTL Claiming Series ($220,000 and less) at Caymanas Park yesterday.
The sparingly raced four-year-old gelding by Tracking out of Nadege was installed a 6-5 favourite despite a lengthy absence from the winners' enclosure, and duly justified the confidence in scoring by 2 3/4 lengths from the rank outsider MUSTANG (27-1) in a field of six.
THE REBEL was ridden by Robert Stewart for owner P. Andrew Azar and trainer Rudolph Hardial.
Fourth win of the season
Stewart, who was notching his fourth win of the season, recalled that the horse bled the last time he rode him over the straight and knew he would be a winner this time around.
"He finished close up in fourth that day under top weight and coming back much lighter and given Lasix for the bleeding, there was no way he was going to lose. "This is a horse who loves the rails so I made sure I broke him sharply and kept him on the far rails throughout," he explained.
Earlier in the afternoon, the improving three-year-old colt BURNING CIELO, ridden by Paul 'Country' Francis, floored the odds on the previous unbeaten American filly SKITTLE QUEEN, beating her by a nose in the fifth race over 1400 metres contested by six starters.
Trained by Fitzgerald Richards, BURNING CIELO, who was prepping for the June 13 Derby, held off the fast-finishing SKITTLE QUEEN to complete a hat-trick of wins from five career starts.
With top jockeys Omar Walker and Dane Nelson both sitting out suspensions, Richie Mitchell took the riding honours with two winners in the debutants BIG DIVA and SPACE FURY.
The Tony Kirlew-trained American filly BIG DIVA (made all) just held from AL FOUZIA to win the Eddie Black Memorial Cup maiden special for two-year-olds over 600 metres straight, despite a running saddle.
Meanwhile, flags were flown at half mast at Caymanas Park yesterday as a mark of respect for the passing of the legendary 'Hall of Fame' trainer Allan 'Billy' Williams, who died on Friday after a short illness at age 78. In a long and distinguished career, Williams was associated with such outstanding horses as LEGAL LIGHT, NONE SUCH, RIMSKY, MABROUK and MIRACLE MAN.