Jersey Girl (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The Bangalore 1000 Guineas (Gr.2)
The first Classic of The Bangalore Winter Season 2012-13 was won by the Puttana trained Jersey Girl on Saturday. The Kunigal Stud Farm bred filly stormed home to a sensational victory in The Bangalore 1000 Guineas (Grade II) and presented her sporting owners Ananth Iyengar and KG Jairam with this coveted trophy. In the capable hands of Srinath, Jersey Girl ran the best race of her career. She travelled comfortably under Srinath and did everything that he asked of her. Dispelling doubts about her staying abilities, she dug deep into her reserves of stamina and produced a strong gallop in the final stages of this mile long race. Incidentally, Ananth Iyengar had travelled all the way from New Jersey to lead her in. The ten acceptors in this race had a familiar look, as most of them had clashed in The Mysore 1000 Guineas a couple of months ago. On the basis of her runaway victory in that race, Equine Lover was a firm favourite today. It was felt that since she had comprehensively beaten them in their earlier meeting, there was nothing to stop her from doing so again today. Showin’Off and Ring Of Fire were relative newcomers to this group. For this very reason, they started as the second and third favourites in this race.
Sandesh and Equine Lover were quick out of the gates, and the pair set a strong pace in this race. Equine Lover led by a few lengths from Simply Stylish, Ratham and Nickel Chrome. Srinath was able to tuck Jersey Girl behind the leaders along the inside rails, while Ring Of Fire and Art Of Enchantment were right next to him. Auburn Beauty, Showin’Off and a tailed-off Thunderbay completed the procession. Rousing hopes of another runaway victory, Equine Lover was clear of the chasing brigade at the bend. But the scene altered alarmingly thereafter. She began to send tiring signals in the straight. Despite Sandesh’s urgings, Equine Lover got exhausted at this stage. The field began to close-in on her. The yellow colours of Jersey Girl appeared on the centre of the track and the filly burst clear of the pack. With Srinath driving her relentlessly, she maintained her momentum till the very end. She apparently relished the give in the ground as there were no signs of her getting tired in the day’s feature. A late rushing Art Of Enchantment finished strongly to take the second spot ahead of Ring Of Fire and Auburn Beauty. Equine Lover plodded in the final stages to finish off the frame. A closer look at the final result confirmed that every single filly, barring Equine Lover, had run more or less true to form. Much was expected from Showin’Off, but she failed to live upto the expectations of her followers.
Srinath had opened his account earlier with his first ride on Saturday. Satish Narredu’s Gun Salute looked wonderful in the parade ring and proved to be much too strong for his rivals. Sharing favouritism with Blue Star, the bay colt took a smart jump and settled comfortably behind Dancing Emeralds and Mountain Splendour. Srinath moved him off the rails at the bend and asked him to quicken. The response was almost immediate. A couple of taps with the whalebone was all that was required for him to saunter clear of a late finishing Blue Star and Living Legend. It will not be fair to read too much into this performance, as the field wasn’t truly representative of Class III sprinters.
An armchair ride to victory astride Hidayat Khan’s Chiron in the last race of the day completed a fine treble for Srinath. With on-money favourite Transcendental failing to find the expected acceleration in the straight, Chiron’s job became much easier. Holding her back behind a bunch of ordinary participants, Srinath rode Chiron for eventual acceleration. She came with a final burst of speed to go clear of Simply Super. At the same time, Transcendental made heavy weather of bid at the back. In this sort of form, it is difficult to see him winning a race in the near future. He just about managed to dead-heat for the third place with a late rushing Grey Connection. With regards to Srinath’s riding on Saturday, it must be accepted that he is finally regaining his rhythm. Three wins and three second places out of a total of six mounts was his scorecard at the end of the day. Because of an injury to his hand, Srinath had taken an extended vacation from racing. He had put on a lot of weight during that period. Hard work and perseverance are the hallmarks of a true professional. Now that Srinath is almost back to his normal weight, his fans can expect to see him riding at his usual best this winter.
A Class II sprint was expectedly won with ease by Neil Darashah’s Sun Divine. This compact looking horse had progressed to this category by winning three out of his four career outings. The last of these was achieved at Malakpet, wherein, he had given weight and a beating to Cecil and Vijay’s Best. The fact that both these horses had come out and thrashed their rivals in subsequent starts, enhanced the value of the said performance. Sun Divine was well-weighted today. Carducci appeared to be his only serious opponent, but he too was attempting to defy a sizable penalty that he had received for a victory earlier this month. PS Chouhan took a firm hold of the proceedings by pushing the odds-on favourite to the front and settling him nicely on the rails. For a brief while, he was headed by Game Dancer, but that was only till the bend. The brakes were released at that stage and the race was over. Sun Divine cantered away for a very easy victory. A minor duel between Red Bolt and Impressive Bolt was fought for the minor placings. The bandaged Carducci could do no better than finish a tame fourth.
The MS Krishnappa Memorial Cup, a sprint event for horses four years old and over rated 40-65, looked like an open affair. In the absence of a clear favourite, quite a few contenders ran with an equal chance of landing the spoils. The speedy Swift Star had run well in the hands of an apprentice a fortnight ago. Srinath used the same tactics today and sent him to the front. Wild Nexus, Sweet Timer and Bessie found early rhythm to stay in contention. The group began to tighten near the bend. Wild Nexus moved with powerful strides to wrest the initiative. With Gnaneshwar making free use of his whip, the grey overtook Swift Star and stormed home to an overdue victory. The early leader retained his second spot ahead of a late rushing Bessie. Decorated showed an apparent dislike for the soft going and finished off the frame.
Apprentice Noornabi enjoyed the best moments of his short career by scoring a treble on Saturday. On a day when the competion was intense, and there was a lot of good riding talent on display, the youngster scored astride all his three mounts and shared the day’s honours with Srinath. It began with the very first race of the afternoon. Dominic trained Right On Time had developed a bad habit in the last few months of being lethargic at the gates. Despite this handicap, the bay filly was backed with a certain amount of confidence to bag the prize. Sparingly campaigned Windsor Park had bled in her previous start in July, and the five year old filly was appearing after a longish gap. Her expanding odds indicated that the connections held a pessimistic view about her chances. The Dominic camp was delighted with Right On Time’s behaviour at the gates today. The filly took a quick jump and settled comfortably behind no-hopers Lightning Express and Jeyem. Noornabi nursed her till the bend before making his move. Her lengthening strides thereafter were enough to contain a feeble challenge from Indian Pride. The rest of the runners, including Windsor Park, got tired in the final furlong and ended way behind the first two finishers.
A couple of races later, it was Satish Narredu’s Nectar Crown that literally carried him to victory. The rank outsider was last of eight at the bend. Magic Wave and Thejaguar had set a scorching pace in this race., and the pair was many lengths ahead of favourite Super Gold as the runners moved towards the distance post. With Thejaguar fading out of contention, not many expected Magic Wave to get caught by any of the others. It was at this stage that Noornabi picked up his stick. He gave Nectar Crown a couple of cracks and got a shocking response from his mount. With a scintillating burst of speed, the six year old devoured ground and stormed home to an exhilarating victory. Magic Wave and Super Gold took the minor placings in this race.
Noornabi’s best was apparently reserved for the end. His third and last ride during the afternoon was astride Dhariwal’s Veyron. In a fifteen horse field, the wagering was confined to Own Asset, Mr Carpe and Ice Stone. The first two were drawn on the wide outside, and it was clear that their jockeys would need to use them in the initial stages to move into favourable positions. While Srinath managed to get Mr Carpe into the fifth slot behind The First Bullet, Recharged, Money Ball and Firelight, jockey Liam Jones had a tough time on Own Asset. The chestnut encountered numerous traffic problems and was seen in the back bunch as they traversed the first half of their journey. Noornabi and Veyron tracked Mr Carpe at this stage. The race took a serious turn thereafter. Mr Carpe improved steadily on the wide outside and hit the front. A couple of lengths behind came Veyron. Own Asset wove his way through a tightly packed field and joined the fray. At one stage it seemed as though Mr Carpe would maintain his advantage, but that was not to be. Noornabi cajoled Veyron towards the inner rails and managed to extricate that little bit “extra”. Veyron responded gamely to post a stunning victory. Mr Carpe and Own Asset had to be content with the second and third berths. There is little doubt, that but for the numerous problems that he faced in the initial stages, Own Asset would have won this race. On the other hand, Ice Stone put up a pathetic performance and faded from the scene. She does not seem to be a genuine type, and it may be a good idea to ignore her from a betting perspective in future.