The progressive American 4-y-o filly LONG RUNNING TRAIN made it two wins from as many starts this season, slamming her five opponents in the annual renewal of the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy grade one feature over 1820 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday. Installed a short priced favourite at 2-5 with former champion Wesley ‘Callaloo’ Henry aboard, LONG RUNNING TRAIN chased and disposed of long-time leader RAGING PROSPECT (31-1) leaving the half mile and moving away to win by seven lengths from SOUTHERN CRUISE (5-1). Following a stewards’ inquiry, BRAWN (3-1), who passed the post third with Aaron Chatrie aboard, was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference to topweight HOVER CRAFT (4-1), who was promoted to third. Last season’s Most Improved Trainer, Harry Parsard, said that LONG RUNNING TRAIN is turning out to be a top-class filly and racing fans are yet to see the best of her. “She won with the minimum of fuss today and although effective over middle distances, she has progressed to a point where it’s going to be difficult for any horse to beat her going two turns,” argued Parsard, who also owns the bay filly by Flower Alley – Cuz You Never Know. “This was her first win in grade one company and I suspect it will be the first of many,” he added. Henry, on the other hand, described LONG RUNNING TRAIN as an ‘exceptional filly’ who is ready to go places. “I am happy that my recent shoulder injury, which kept me out of the saddle for almost a month, has healed in time to secure the ride and provide me with yet another win aboard her,” said Henry, who rode two winners on the card, including the 52-1 outsider PAPER N LACE for trainer Fitzgerald Richards in the second race over a mile. Meanwhile, on a day of upsets, LAZZA (4-1), the first of two winners for apprentice Hakeem Pottinger, won the Jockeys’ Guild of Jamaica Trophy race in post-to-post fashion, while CHEXIMAKIT, with Harleston Lewis up, scored a 15-1 upset in the Al Gopie Memorial Cup for maidens over the straight. Disqualified
The Police have been called in to investigate fraud unearthed at the Mahaicony Abary Rice Development Scheme (MARDS).Guyana Times understands that two A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Regional Councillors attached to the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) are at the centre of the probe.Reports are that one of the Councillors, who is a Board Member of MARDS, had three cheques written in the name of her niece. The cheques were valued $1 million, $500,000 and $200,000. According to reports, the Board Member had reported to the then Secretary that she had money in her account on a fixed deposit and did not have access to it until the specified period was up.Police were called in to investigate if the Councillor put the money to personal use. Police have received a statement detailing the plot used to get the funds to be released in her niece’s name.Meanwhile, a fourth cheque was issued to an employee of the Hugo Chávez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration located at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice. Notably one of the very Councillors is on the management team of the Centre.Police were called in by MARDS head Allison Bourne and were given information to substantiate the allegations. One of the Councillors was asked to visit the Mahaicony Police Station. However, the Councillor opted to visit the Cove and John Police Station, which is in the same division.Additionally, another official, who was fired last year, is under investigation for allegedly having issued to himself monies to the tune of $2,108,000.The money was allegedly used to repair an Agriculture Ministry vehicle and a businessman’s fence, which were both damaged. However, this newspaper was told that the vehicle and fence were damaged after the very employee had crashed the former into the latter last year. The official was later charged for being an unlicensed driver, dangerous driving and breach of insurance. That official is also a Board Member of MARDS and Police are investigating whether he used his position to get the money to repair the damaged Government vehicle and the businessman’s fence.Meanwhile, as the investigations commenced, Police arrested the former company secretary; however, after providing a statement, he was released on $100,000 station bail.