• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Saturday 18 Feb 2017
Trainer Vijay Singh leading Avarua (A Ashhad Asbar Up), winner of The Acorn Stakes

Trainer Vikash Jaiswal was in his element on Saturday as he notched up a high priced treble with My Lady Luck (6/1) , Jacknife (10/1)  and Antonius Maximus (20/1). The day’s main event, The Acorn Stakes, was bagged by Vijay Singh-trained Avarua (Abbeyside-Aymaras) in the safe hands of A Ashad Aasbar as Imran Chisty failed to show up. The change of jockey was probably beneficial for the connections as Chisty has not been in the best of form at this centre. Aasbar rode an understanding race as he improved the filly’s position gradually before drawing away from pace-setter Eastern Flame. Though Danceress moved up well, she never really posed any threat to the  eventual winner. The favourite Sangfroid was never in it despite Trevor’s best efforts. She is a natural front-runner and seemed to detest being ridden in check. She was not maintaining a straight path when under pressure and ended up an unimpressive fourth.

Vijay Singh’s runner Pothus (Mignight Interlude-Laserre) had won the Artwork Plate one race earlier. Leading jockey Dashrath Singh got a chance ride on the colt in the absence of Chisty. It couldn’t have been a better change of rider for the connections. The colt was backed down to joint favouritism and eventually won as he liked. Pace-setter and much fancied Rufus was a poor second while the other fancied runner Gryffindor was an even poorer third.

Dashrath had earlier ridden a brilliant finish astride Bharath Singh-trained Leopard Creek (Burden Of Proof-Soviet Lake/ Kunigal Stud) to keep at bay the pair of Aquitania and Interstellar and lift the prestigious Indian Air Force Trophy.  Dashrath used the inside draw to maximum effect, other than which Aquitania may have pulled it off. The Easter Air Command Cup saw an absolute edge of the seat thriller where apprentice Jorawar Singh powered Vinay Lagad-trained Magic In The Air to a narrow victory over Running Hand. Favourite Rainbow Dash had all the chances but failed to hold on to her advantage in the straight.

Trainer Bath set the trend for the day when his Glorious Run (Rebuttal-Beautiful Crown/ Hazara Stud) won the Aphroze Handicap from Ivy and fancied Kaartiken. Vikash Jaiswal took over the baton from him with a thunderous treble. Always on the board in her previous outings, My Lady Luck (Dancing Forever-Secret Path) went one better on this occasion to land the spoils in the Tug Of War Handicap. Akash Rajput was his usual confident self as he pegged back the persistent Xipen. Brother Sandeep Rajput guided Jacknife (Mull Of Kintyre-Bukat Timan/ Sohna Stud) to his third victory of the season in The Vijay Sicka Memorial Cup. Fancied runners Dragon Of War and Arctic Convoy cut each other’s throats till into the straight and then faded out of the picture. It was left to Abigail to issue a serious challenge to the eventual winner.

Jaiswal had reserved the biggest surprise for the last as young apprentice Nikhil Naidu did extremely well to pilot eight-year-old Antonius Maximus (Mull Of Kintyre-Brave Star/ Sohna Stud) to an easy victory over course favourite Storm Front in the Robin Hood Handicap. The latter’s defeat meant that Trevor returned empty handed at the end of the day, as did local ace Christopher Alford.