Mellisa Ward, who on November 28 became the first of the three female apprentices to ride a winner, FIFTYONESTORM, enjoyed her best day in the saddle at Caymanas Park yesterday, notching the first double of her short career.The 21-year-old Camperdown High graduate looked improved in booting hot 4-5 favourite CLASSIK MAKIT in the third race and 2-1 favourite POWEROFTHECAT in the seventh, just lasting home by a head from the fast-finishing TIMEFORACAT, with fellow apprentice Linton Steadman aboard.She just missed a triple when 3-1 chance CHANGE HIM NAME was beaten in a photo finish by INFANTRY OFFICER under Aaron Chatrie in the first race, but she could be deemed unlucky, having lost her whip when challenging on the rails midway the last furlong.Ward, who has now won four races, said: “I am happy with my progress, but I still have a lot to learn, and I’m taking it one day at a time.”Saturday-Sunday meetsFellow apprentice Dane Dawkins rode three winners at the back-to-back Saturday-Sunday meets, including 22-1 outsider LITTLEMISSEMMY (made all) for trainer Anthony Nunes and owner-breeder Karl Samuda in the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers’ Association Trophy race over 1200m on Saturday. Nunes, who was away in Trinidad, won three races on the card.
Wolmer’s Girls have been corporate area queens for the past eight years but come March 15-19 at the ISSA Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, the Michael Carr-coached team will be under severe pressure to continue their streak.The girls from Heroes Circle have consistently finished ahead of their corporate area rivals at the marquee event. However, the likes of Convent of Mercy (Alpha), Camperdown and Excelsior are eager to knock them off their perch this year.Coach Carr is wary of the fact that his team will be under tremendous pressure but is bracing for the challenge.”To make it nine in a row, it is going to be very challenging as the team does not really have any flag bearer, so to speak, like we did in the past when we had a Shauna Helps and Jonielle Smith, who were real motivators,” said Carr.Unlike former years, his girls have not been dominant at development meets but Carr is not perturbed.”I used these meets to see what we need to improve on going forward, and I am pleased with the progress, as these meets are very beneficial to the athletes,” he said.Asked about his points projections for Champs, his reply was, “I am not a person who thinks about points as, for me, performance is the key, and once they perform the points will come, and I do not believe in predictions.”Although not having a big squad, Carr singled out one athlete who he expects a lot from.”I am very pleased with the performances of our jumpers, especially Danielle Spence, who has been doing well in the triple jump so far.”Asked which teams he sees has threats to dethrone Wolmer’s as Corporate champions, he was philosophical in his reply.”A number of teams are doing well. Camperdown has done very well in recruiting, while Excelsior and Alpha have been doing well, so far, especially Excelsior, who has some great coaches. But, on the day, every team will start at zero points, and only two competitors can compete in an event and, despite all these teams being major threats, I am confident that my girls can rise to the occasion,” said Carr.Carr also stated that not having a playfield for the first four months of training affected his preparation.