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Memorial race a step into the unknown

Open field: tomorrow’s race is not at an easy one to predict (Photos by Akil Simmons)

Greg Hopkins, the former Sinclair Pack Memorial Race winner, believes tomorrow’s event is too close to call.

While Darren Glasford and Matthew Oliveira, his Winners Edge team-mate, have been touted as early favourites, Hopkins said the race was “the closest thing to a lottery in Bermuda.”

Far from tipping in-form riders such as the Winners Edge pair, or the likes of Dave McComas, Kwame Curling and Mark Robinson, to win, Hopkins believes the eventual champion may just as easily be a complete unknown.

“History has shown that quite often the favourites falter, or even if they don’t an unexpected victor comes out of the field and surprises everyone,” Hopkins said.

In fact, Hopkins thinks that being labelled a favourite could be more of a curse than a blessing, considering the pressure that comes with having your every move scrutinised.

With the 12-mile race over in little more than 20 minutes, the winner could well be an outsider who takes that chance over the final mile.

“Every move is closely followed giving an opportunity to others to ride their own race without the close attention of the main field,” Hopkins said. “This gives them [the outsiders] the chance to slip away late in the race, or save themselves for the final effort on Cedar Avenue.”

For Hopkins it is this reason that makes the race so exciting because everyone coming into Hamilton “will have a chance.”

The other element in tomorrow’s event that fires Hopkins’s blood are the races within the race; the battles for the junior and women’s titles.

Oliviera, Kaden Hopkins, Dylan Hill and Rajul Matthie are all expected to feature in the final push for the line, and Hopkins expects the junior title to be of secondary importance for these riders.

In the women’s race Alyssa Rowse, who has dominated locally this season, will be conspicuous by her absence tomorrow, but the return of Gabriella Arnold should provide an added spark to what is already an extremely competitive affair.

Arnold, back from Marian University where she has had a strong road season, albeit one punctuated by a serious crash where she sustained a broken collarbone and concussion, will be looking for her first win in the event.

Tomorrow’s race starts at 8.50am, with the Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby at 9am.