Trainer Warren Singh leading Lad Star (Valdir De Sousa Up), winner of The Sardar K B Ramachandraraj Urs Memorial Trophy
An ordinary card of nine events was framed for an extra day of racing at Mysore on Saturday, with The Sardar KB Ramachandraraj Urs Memorial Trophy being slated as the day’s feature. The mile and a quarter handicap for horses in Class II failed to attract more than five runners. The only one amongst them with recent form was Darius Byramji’s Matias. The mare had already scored twice this season and was bidding for a hat-trick. There was no doubt that she was meeting tougher company, but there were many who felt that she would be able to deliver today. Since she had been finishing strongly from behind over marginally shorter trips, Matias was expected to tackle the present distance. Her four opponents, led by Arrabian Gold and Lad Star , had failed to figure amongst the first three in any of their starts this season. More importantly, most of them were “suspect” over a mile and a quarter. The betting charts reflected the mood of the punters. Matias headed them ahead of Arrabian Gold, Lad Star and Lad Lady.
The five runners took off to a level start. Arrabian Gold was pushed to the front, and he led comfortably from Spirituality, Lad Lady, Matias and Lad Star. They traveled in similar fashion in the back-stretch and moved towards the rising ground near the three furlong marker. Even at that stage, there was no appreciable change in the order. The only one who seemed to be getting worried was PS Chouhan. He was niggling Matias to improve her position, but the favourite was finding it extremely difficult to get anywhere near Arrabian Gold. All this while, Valdir DeSouza was “sleeping” astride Lad Star. After a decent jump, he had settled Lad Star in last place and hugged the rails for rest of the way. He was last of five into the straight. With Arrabian Gold finding further foot, those close to him were already beaten. The only one that was yet to make a move was Lad Star. Valdir pulled him towards the centre of the track and asked him to move. Accelerating like a scalded cat, Lad Star picked up a bunch of tired horses and marched towards the winning post. For the records, he made up more than ten lengths on the leader. Matias could do no better than finish a tame third.
Warren had another winner in the very next race of the day. The Hyderabad Race Club Gold Cup was the last “ maidens” event of the season. To be run over seven furlongs, this race attracted some well performed three year olds from Bangalore. Warren’s Simpleton and the Hidayat Khan trained Chiron had been figuring regularly on the boards, and both of them were considered unlucky to have run into some good type of youngsters in their earlier starts. For a change, this race unfurled on expected lines. Simpleton showed better speed at the bend and scampered clear of Chiron in the straight. The others led by Sukhmanee were literally crawling at the end. John rode a very patient race on the winner. He kept his mount away from trouble and traveled on “better ground” towards the outer portion of the track. Simpleton thrived in the slightly wet conditions on Saturday.
John had scored earlier with Sharavanan’s Pearl Of Bangalore. This six year old had come down to the lowest category, and her recent form was quite pathetic. A couple of points indicated the intentions of her connections. A change in shoes from steel to aluminium, and a positive switch in the saddled showed that the mare could be “buzzing” today. Those amongst the punters who followed these clues were benefited by their decision. John brought Pearl Of Bangalore through the middle and overtook favourite Lake Of Fortune in the straight. The 10/1 outsider continued the good work right upto the winning post. A feeble effort from apprentice Arshad Alam enabled Penalty Kick to take the second place ahead of Attaturk and a totally exhausted Lake Of Fortune.
Apprentice Mudassar picked up a couple of races earlier in the afternoon. An armchair ride to victory astride Tribal Queen in the day’s opener enabled him to open his account for the day. After Raaga, Good Shot and Seriously Perfect had run out of gas, Tribal Queen began her charge. Appearing on the wide outside, she skirted the field and moved towards the winning post. The fact that the leading group had come to a grinding halt, made this victory look really impressive. The Puttanna trainee scored by over four lengths from Raaga, Corleone and Seriously Perfect. Those in the beaten brigade need to come down a bit before making a serious bid to re-enter the winner’s enclosure.
Michael Eshwer’s Rock All enabled Mudassar to complete a richly deserved double. The young apprentice has been doing well after being allowed the use of a whip. The Vasoo Group Gold Cup was a scurry for horses in class IV. In the absence of a clear favourite, punters were seen searching for a winner. Those who stuck with Rock All, must consider themselves lucky to have collected on this runner. Third placed Happiness and fourth placed Gris Rapide could have won this race with a little more enthusiasm by their respective riders. Mudassar kept Rock All in a striking position from the start, and chased Singham into the straight. After going ahead in the final furlong, he made free use of his whip to keep Ice Splendour at bay. Happiness and Gris Rapide made up acres of ground on the wide outside to finish within touching distance of the first two finishers. Just about a length separated the four of them.
The upper divisions of The Setia Teknologi Cup, a seven furlong affair, witnessed the eclipse of a number of fancied runners. The closest that any of them came to winning was Sharat Kumar’s Ice Mint. The six year old had ended a dis-interested third to Golden Viper in his previous outing, and was now running in a lower category. Allowing Migrolino to dictate terms in the back-stretch. John brought Ice Mint with a well timed run near the bend. The even-money favourite roused hopes of a popular victory by moving marginally ahead in the final furlong. However, champion jockey PS Chouhan wasn’t giving up without a fight. He continued to urge Migrolino along the inside and remained alongside till they crossed the wire. The camera confirmed that Migrolino had lasted out to hold Ice Mint by a very small margin. A heavily whipped Sicily appeared late on the wide outside to take the third spot.
In the upper division, it was even worse. Byramji trained Abracadabra and Pratap Kamath’s Rebecca were backed to the exclusion of their rivals. While Abracadabra was attempting to improve upon his second placed effort earlier in the season, Mumbai-import Rebecca had fine credentials to land this trophy. Many of those who had ended behind her at Pune, had gone on to win their subsequent starts. However, today’s match race failed to materialize. Abracadabra floundered at the gates and lost considerable ground at the start. She never recovered from this “incident” and ended in the ruck. After taking a level start, Rebecca lost interest in the proceedings and finished off the frame. Not for a moment did one get an impression that Rebecca could figure on the board. In the midst of all this, last outing winner Youre Stunning came charging on the wide outside and strode ahead of Favourite Warrior and Strive And Serve. This was the fourth race that P Mani had won with this Pradeep trained horse in the last one year. Even at the age of seven, the winner showed that he retains his zest for racing.
Manohar trained Sutton Prince was the only runner during the afternoon that managed to carry the public purse to victory. Despite looking gross in his only start last month, Sutton Prince had served notice of an impending success. He was lucky to face a modest set of runners in a sprint race for horses in Class IV today. He made light of a heavy impost and cruised alongside Sparkling Star till the bend. Franco DaSilva allowed him to lean outwards till that stage. The moment he corrected the drift, the race was over. Sutton Prince started to gallop on the right leg and stormed clear of his rivals. Indian Pride, Javanica and War Artist ran on to take the minor placings on the result boards. The winner looks capable of defying the handicapper and moving up the ladder.
By winning the last race of the day with the only runner that he saddled on Saturday afternoon, Neil Darashah managed to streak ahead of his colleagues in the trainer’s championship. After winning a race almost a year ago at Bangalore, Miss Ching had lost form and faded from the scene. Even her last run a couple of months ago on the local track was quite ordinary, wherein, she had ended more than ten lengths behind the winner. The only factor that could possibly have favoured her today was the fact that she was racing against horses in her own age group. Starting as a second favourite behind a heavily supported Royal Spirit, Miss Ching showed a lot of vigour by storming home to an easy victory. She moved steadily from a wide draw and managed to cover the favourite at the bend. Miss Ching went in chase of the front-running Express It thereafter, and wore him down in the straight. Vaideeshwaran rode this filly with a lot of zest and Miss Ching’s performance today was a compliment to her trainer.