Dancin David quicksteps towards Gold Cup glory
Preview: Barbados, Saturday
Garrison Savannah: Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup 1m1f, turf, 3yo+
Dancin David, hero of last year's Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, faces 11 rivals when he defends his crown in the 32nd renewal of the £70,000 contest at Garrison Savannah on Saturday.
The American-bred six-year-old romped home by four lengths in 2012 but has endured an injury-interrupted preparation this time and was off the course for seven months before disappointing on his comeback run last month. Nonetheless, he is the highest rated horse in Saturday's race.
Victory for Dancin David or the strongly fancied Aristodemus would provide Sir David Seale, president of the Barbados Turf Club and a close friend of Richard Hannon, with a sixth success in the Southern Caribbean's richest and most prestigious race.
Aristodemus, a handsome four-year-old Giant's Causeway colt, is trained, like last year's winner, by Liz Deane who will be bidding for a third Gold Cup success. Aristodemus has won four of his nine starts and will have the assistance of crack jockey Anderson Trotman, who rode Feet On Flames to victory in 2005.
Barbados' leading owner Michael Taylor, a Cheshire businessman and head of Blue Diamond Racing, will be hoping to secure a third Gold Cup, following the victories of Pure Temptation in 2008 and Daylight Express a year later, with either Show Me The Money or Daga.
The locally bred Show Me The Money finished first in the 2011 Gold Cup only to lose the race in the stewards' room. Now a seven-year-old, he has not sparkled in recent outings.
Daga, however, came back to form with a bang last month when winning the Coolmore Home of Champions Stakes in taking style after a barren spell lasting 18 months. The five-year-old American-bred mare beat several of Saturday's rivals in that race, traditionally a significant Gold Cup trial.
Last year's winning jockey Jalon Samuel will partner likely favourite Discreetwon who would provide popular local trainer Roger Parravicino with a first Gold Cup triumph. This Discreet Cat four-year-old is a classy and progressive colt who has won three of his last six starts - two of them over the Gold Cup distance.
Local favourite Apostle, who has finished third in the race on two occasions, looks sure to blaze his customary trail but the nine-year-old gelding may find several of his younger rivals too good while Trinidadian-trained Just Call Me Roger, the sole foreign raider, faces the major challenge of racing right-handed for the first time.