THW: The Ruby Gold Cup

THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 5 December 2012, Wednesday

The Ruby Gold Cup

            Racing fans have less than a week to wait for the eagerly anticipated 40th running of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Presidential Gold Cup.

The Ruby Anniversary edition of this iconic race will be run over 2,000 meters and is set for December 9 at Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite, coincidentally with the Philtobo Grand Championship Day and its slew of stakes races.

Held for the first time in 1973, the PCSO Presidential Gold Cup was met with “wide spontaneous acclaim,” according to the message of then-PCSO Chairman-General Manager Nereo C. Andolong printed in the souvenir magazine for the second running of the race.

He added that he hoped the race “will become truly part of Philippine sports tradition.” It has, not only as a “classic event” but is now recognized in the international racing scene as the Philippines’ G1 stakes race.

Chairman Andolong’s objective for the event was the same as it is today – “to serve the lofty purposes of national sports development” and to “elevate horseracing and horse-breeding to a rightful position of respect in the country.”

The official starters for the Ruby Gold Cup are: (1) Purple Ribbon – 3YO bay colt / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Herminio S. Esguerra, Jockey: Valentino R. Dilema, Trainer: Ruben S. Tupas, Pedigree: Account of Grace (USA) x Feverishly (AUS);

(2)  Magna Carta – 4YO bay colt / 58 kgs., Owner: Michael Dragon T. Javier,

Jockey: Jesse B. Guce, Trainer: Raymundo R. Henson, Pedigree: Woodman (USA) x Pledge The Fifth (USA);

(3) Hagdang Bato – 3YO bay colt  / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Benhur C. Abalos, Jockey: Jonathan B. Hernandez, Trainer: Ruben S. Tupas, Pedigree: Quaker Ridge (USA) x Fire Down Under (USA);

(4)  Pleasantly Perfect – 3YO bay colt  / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Divina Y. Dy, Jockey:

Patricio R. Dilema, Trainer: Rodolfo G. Mendoza, Pedigree: Interrogate (USA) x Passing on Passion (AUS);

(5) Tensile Strength – 4YO bay colt / 55 kgs., Owner: Felizardo R. Sevilla Jr., Jockey: Jeffril T. Zarate, Trainer: Manuel M. Vicente, Pedigree: Kangoo (IRE) x Real Storm (AUS);

(6)  Chevrome – 3YO bay colt / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Wilfredo S. Yason, Jockey: John

Alvin Guce, Trainer: Jose Angel L. Mijares, Pedigree: Conquistarose (USA) x Hantuchova (NZ);

(7) Steel Creation – 3YO bay colt / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Bienvenido Pierre M. Niles III

Jockey: Mark A. Alvarez, Trainer: Francisco C. Niles, Pedigree: Reenact (AUS) x Asap (AUS);

(8) Cinderella Kid – 3YO bay colt / 54.5 kgs., Owner: Nathaniel G. Velasco, Jockey: Fernando M. Raquel Jr., Trainer: Jose Mario Paulo S. Jacob, Pedigree: Kafwain (USA) x End Sweep’s Girl (USA).

According to race analyst and TV commentator lawyer Will de Ungria this race is seen as a “showdown between this year’s Triple Crown Champion, Hagdang Bato, and 2011 PCSO Presidential Gold Cup and 2012 PCSO Silver Cup champion, Magna Carta.”

He added that Hagdang Bato has suffered only one loss in its career, and has clocked a snappy 2:07 in the 2,000 meters in the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown, the championship series for elite local 3YO that he swept this year.

On the other hand, says de Ungria, “Magna Carta…has shown everyone that it likes the distance, having won all three of the last 2,000-meter races it ran, most recent of which was the Philracom Ambassador Eduardo M. Conjuangco, Jr. Cup held last November 18 at San Lazaro Leisure Park where Magna Carta notched a 2:06’ victory over a game Tensile Strength.

“If we follow the clock alone then we can already put Magna Carta at an advantage. The trouble is, Magna Carta will be carrying 58 kilos, three and one-half kilos heavier than the handicap weight of Hagdang Bato.”

All things considered, this is not only a historic event but also bodes to be a most spectacular face-off between the best Philippine-bred 3YO (Hagdang Bato) and most accomplished island-born (Magna Carta), both at the peak of their powers.

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