IT’S holiday racing at Caymanas Park today, with the well-supported nine-race programme featuring the Ash Wednesday Trophy over 1300 metres to be contested by 14 starters.Also on the card is the annual renewal of the $250,000 – $210,000 claiming race over 1200 metres for the Clifford Stewart Memorial Cup. Twelve horses have been declared, including top contenders BARS OF GOLD, CHEERS, ROYAL GIRL, MONEY MOVE and LIGHT BRIGADE, who bids for his fourth consecutive win and could well start favourite.The main focus, however, is on the Ash Wednesday Trophy, which should see the likes of CHACE THE GREAT, PROLIFIC PRINCESS, UNCLE TAF, TALENTED TONY K, down-in-class UPPA TUNE and champion two-year-old SOTOMAYOR making his seasonal debut in preparation for the April 8 2000 Guineas, for which he is the winter book favourite.All of the above should ensure a competitive race, especially with much speed present in TALENTED TONY K, UPPA TUNE and CHACE THE GREAT.I am expecting the Dwight Chen-trained 4-y-o colt CHACE THE GREAT to prove strongest entering the straight from his convenient mark of 53.0kg and former champion jockey Wesley Henry aboard.START FAVOURITEOver this trip, the speedy son of Greatness – Our Miss Ruth should not only start favourite, but justify the support in much the same way he did when notching his last win over the distance on September 25, slamming BERRANCA and BLUE DIXIE in the fairly good time of 1:18.2.Since then, CHACE THE GREAT has run some useful races for the most part. True, he was installed a howling 1-2 favourite to win over the straight-five course on February 11, but could only manage fourth, beaten 13/4 lengths by the much-improved KING D. He was badly drawn on the far side that day, however, and was not really disgraced considering that he drifted out badly after coming on to the main track.Having trained well and the distance now ideal, CHACE THE GREAT should stave off the late-closing grey colt SOTOMAYOR, who will not find the distance too short after winning his last race over a mile, the $4.25-million SVL Jamaica 2-Y-O Stakes, on Boxing Day. CHACE THE GREAT, however, appears that much fitter and is tipped to resume winning ways.BARS OF GOLD, who won decisively over 1200 metres last time out, should give his in-form trainer Gregory Forsyth and jockey Jevanne Erwin yet another winner in the Clifford Stewart Memorial Cup, while other firm fancies are FRANKENSTORM in the opening race over the straight, FEARLESS SAMURAI in the third, and BIG BLACK NATION to stave off PROUD PRESIDENT and FLYING MACHINE in the closing race over 1300 metres.
The window which was brokenDavi Ropnarine threw her earrings to the banditsHarmond RoopnarineLennox Ramcharran’s home where the bandit beat his familyLennox Ramcharran was bound and beatenA bullet hole on Roopnarine’s door Berbice crime wave…Police said no car to respond; no SWAT dispatchedBandits have struck again in Berbice, this time by attacking two families at Black Bush Polder and carting cash and jewellery while family members were told that the police there had no vehicle to respond immediately.Reports are the gunmen, all masked, initially tried to break into the home of a farmer but shot at him after their attempt failed. This newspaper was told that the latest attack was at Johanna North at about 01:20h on Friday.Harmond Roopnarine, 40, a farmer and his wife and two children, aged 17 and 16, were at home.The farmer said he heard someone trying to break into his home and stood up, waiting with a cutlass in his hand as they repeatedly hit the window. He said one of the gunmen saw him but could not get into the building.He explained that he stood at the window and saw the bandits using a piece of wood to break open the window to enter the house.As one was making his way in from the broken window, the family began to scream while Roopnarine stood next to the window armed with a cutlass. The bandits ordered him to put down the cutlass but he did not comply. This led to them firing shots at the farmer and demanding, while still outside, that Roopnarine hand over his gold and money.He said another shot was fired in the direction of his wife and children, who were in the bedroom.The two bandits, the farmer said, were outside of his home for about ten minutes during which time several calls were made to the Mibicuri Police Station but the family was told that the police are incapable of responding because of the lack of a vehicle.Meanwhile, his wife, Devi, told this newspaper that she went on her knees and begged the bandits not to hurt her family.“I tell them we ain’t get nothing. Don’t kill me husband….they tell me husband to put down the cutlass and lie down. But he didn’t putting down the cutlass and I take off my earring and I throw it and give them and then they gone,” the traumatised woman said.It was not until daylight that the police arrived at the scene.“If they had come when we call them we could have catch somebody but is till this morning [Thursday] the Whim police come,” the farmer told Guyana Times.Roopnarine expressed appreciation at being able to get on to the police station when he called but he is disappointed that they could not respond in a timely manner.Meanwhile, at Johanna South, Lennox Ramcharran, 51, a rice farmer, was beaten after gunmen went into his home at about 20:30h on Thursday.Ramcharran said he left his two teenage children inside after he heard dogs barking and went outside to investigate when he was confronted by the bandits.“One of them run out and lash me down and tie up me hand. Me son come outside and he call for me but I can’t get to answer he so he run back upstairs.”He said his son immediately called the police, informing them that they were under attack by bandits.All three of the bandits had guns, the man recalled. He said that the bandits ransacked the house after his wife gave them money and jewellery. She and her two children were also beaten.The men left with $300,000 and an undisclosed amount of jewellery. As a means of escaping without any incidents, the men grabbed the man’s 16-year-old daughter but released her after they realised that they were not being followed.Ramcharran said shortly after the incident, two police officers arrived on motorbikes. An investigation has been launched. (Andrew Carmichael)