35th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup
Ruler of Racing: Native Land
Reigns in Historic Race with Four-Length Win
ONCE AGAIN, Native Land proved himself the horse of the moment when he ruled one of the racing calendar’s most prestigious events, the 2,000-meter 35th PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) Presidential Gold Cup held last December 9 at the San Lazaro Leisure Park (SLLP).
Fresh from his come-from-behind win in the 12th MARHO Breeders’ Cup Classic just three weeks previously, Native Land was sent off as the favorite in the seven-horse field which included sprinters Batong Silyar and Tellmenolies, as well as stayers Empire King, Mr. Victory, and coupled entries Real Spicy and Sound of Silence.
When the gates flew open, Tellmenolies led by two lengths over Batong Silyar while Native Land and Real Spicy settled in third and fourth. Past the grandstand the first time, Tellmenolies hung on in front, while Real Spicy moved up rather early to grab second position a length behind, as Batong Silyar dropped to third. Native Land was a length further behind in fourth.
At the backstretch, Tellmenolies gave up the lead to Real Spicy, even as Native Land started moving up under the guidance of jockey Jesse B. Guce. At the far turn, the two rivals raced neck-and-neck five lengths ahead of Batong Silyar and Mr. Victory, who had suddenly kicked into gear.
At the home turn, Native Land found his sweet spot on the track and stepped smartly past Real Spicy, stretching his lead to two as Mr. Victory came hot on his heels. But down the lane, Native Land simply proved the best horse that day as he shot to triumph nearly five lengths in front of the fading Mr. Victory, Real Spicy, and Empire King.
After the race, an ecstatic Guce kissed his mount as they entered the saddling paddock. Quarters for the journey were 24’-23’-26-25’-27 for a total time of 2:06.6.
Native Land, a six-year-old, is considered late-maturing by many analysts as it is only within the last several months that he has turned in outstanding performances in major races. His owner, Antonio “Tony” V. Tan, was all smiles as he accepted a trophy and facsimile check for P1.5 million from PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia at the awarding ceremony. Guce, trainer Toots Henson, and Alex Mamon representing breeder C&H Enterprises also received trophies. ***
Photo: It’s Jesse B. Guce aboard Native Land in the 35th PCSO Presidential Gold Cup! (9 Dec 2007)