Trainer Vijay Singh leading Ophion (S Johan Up), winner of The King Wajid Ali Shah Of Oudh Cup
Trainer Vijay Singh notched up a well-backed treble at RCTC on Tuesday with the help of power-packed top-weight jockey S John in the saddle of all three of his winning wards. He however remains in second spot in the trainers’ championship table – two behind his brother Bharath Singh.
The main event, The King Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh Cup, saw Vijay’s Ophion (Abbeyside-Bold Reply) mock the field as he shot ahead in the straight and won as he liked. Shyam Habbu’s Mariska closed as the on-money public choice but she was under pressure to hold position from before the bend. Jockey Akshay did his best to find a gap along the rails and try to steal a march but the fashionably bred filly just wouldn’t budge and failed miserably to find her western India form. She eventually finished in the ruck much to the disappointment of her followers.
One race earlier, John had ridden a hard finish to bring home the bacon astride top-weight Fury (Burden Of Proof – Sugarbird/ Kunigal Stud) in the lower division of the Adelina Handicap. My Lady Luck was on a start to finish mission and threatened to pull it off in the straight. John however had other ideas as he used the false rails to good effect and head for home after the bend. Had he lost by a narrow verdict, there is good chance that he would have won it in the Stewards room as My Lady Luck rolled onto him in the final furlong. The second favourite Desert Cat was an utter disappointment and finished in the ruck.
Vijay and John completed their hat-trick with chestnut gelding The Stradle (Dancing Forever – St Finian’s Bay) who pocketed The Moon Fairy Handicap. Chasing the speedy Citi Heights till the straight, he shot ahead to win comfortably. Once again, the second favourite Imara started sending distress signals from the bend onwards and finished nowhere.
The afternoon started with a surprise out-of-the-blue piping hot favourite New Challenger, from Javed Khan’s yard, going down without any visible challenge. Bharath Singh’s Super Striker (Arabian Gulf-Coconut Squeak/ Manjri Stud) made it a start to finish affair in the hands of promising apprentice Nikhil Naidu. Apprentice Jaykumar chased the winner astride So Regal all the way.
The second race of the day, The Star Perfection Handicap run over a mile, saw Bath-trained Power Of Freedom (Sharp Attack-Sweet Pea Jamie/ Gee Stud) use the extra furlong to his advantage as Shezad Khan coaxed a second wind out of his mount to get the better of Artegal who had collared him and was headed for the winning post. The winner came on again to land the spoils for his stable who had reposed their faith in him as he closed as the favourite.
Apprentice Hindu Singh also enjoyed a lucrative double when he guided home Vinay Lagad’s Red Bug and Manvendra Singh’s Midnight Star to victory. The lad thus gained full jockey status and can no longer claim allowance. Red Bug (Noverre-Just Julie/ Sohana Stud) won the upper division of the Adelina Handicap after sailing past the favourite Indus Prince who was trying to make every post a winning one. Timeless Magic was a notable runner-up.
Midnight Star (surprisingly available at 8/1 afteer a superb top-weight run) was hard ridden by the apprentice to get the better of the favourite Simran’s Choice at the wire in the race for the Star Flame Handicap. The four-year-old winner by Gaswar out of Minnie Mouse (Lingwood Stud) has come on a lot. It is relevant to mention that Simran’s Choice lost some ground at the start, other than which she may well have turned the tables.
Seen on the local track for the first time this season, jockey Akash Rajput did not let his fan following go home empty handed as he guided home the 7/1 shot Jacknife (Mull Of Kintyre-Bukat Timan/ Sohna Stud) to victory in the sprint for The Young Lady Handicap. It was a clever piece of horsemanship that won Rajput the day, other than which the favourite Spear Of Trium could well have returned a winner.