• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Friday 24 Feb 2017
Trainer Sriram Komandur leading Life Awaits (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The Saptharishi Cup

The in-form Life Awaits from Sriram Komandur’s  yard  won the  Saptharishi Cup, the plum event on Friday in an thrilling finish to the delight of his supporters. The winner produced a winning gallop at the all-important end to edge out top weighted Goldberg while Saladin caught the eye with a belated effort to finish third.

It was a competitive event and the cards promised a close finish.  Goldberg who needed to opt out at Malakpet (Hyderabad) suffering from a bout impressed most  in the paddock parade and there was considerable support for him to oblige despite shouldering the  back-breaking weight that he was asked to shoulder. The wide outside draw was an additional cause for worry.

Jockey S John in his attempt to gain a favourable position from the wide draw hit the front in the first furlong. Goldberg enjoyed a healthy break all through the sprint trip before Life Awaits who was handily placed stormed through to streak ahead and score.

Summerhill was strongly fancied to score in the upper division of the  Devarayanadurga Plate. However, the Sulaiman Attaollahi ward  who was not favourably placed at the top of the straight failed in his mission. Last start winner Topaz had the racing form but the fact that apprentice jockey Darshan was in the saddle did not enthuse too many punters to have a bet. But the apprentice did well and Topaz bounced clear in the final furlong and then held off the strong challenge of Splendid Splasher who was back on the track after a long gap. A short neck separated El Fenix and Thomas More who occupied the next two slots on the frame.

The lower division of the event was claimed by the Dominic schooled Racing Fire  at nourishing odds. Racing Fire hit the front from the start and refused to budge from there as he spurted clear in the final furlong to win with a measure of comfort. Hector finished a game second despite the injudicious effort of Jagadeesh. Zafran was seen purposefully finishing at end to take the third spot. Favourite  War Envoy failed to perform on par and finished off the frame.

Imtiaz Khan- trained Carducci was the biggest upset of the day, claiming the Alchemy Plate in a tight finish from Breaking Away and Scorching. The winner  returned a handsome dividend of Rs 517 on a tenner.

Gregory Sandhu- trained Erdemir had suffered serious interference last time out and despite the hiccup, the four-year-old gelding had finished second to Lightning Attack. Erdemir looked a cut above the rest in the  Star Windsor Plate and the public choice had no problem hitting the front at the top of the straight and staying there without coming under pressure from the rest. For the record, Mission Blue nosed out Calico King to get the runner-up berth.

Arjun Mangalorkar-trained Setaglow who looked good and ready to make a winning debut  in the  Bugs Bunny Trophy  duly obliged with a fighting effort which enabled the daughter of Multidimensional edge out Malana. David Allan on Malana led the field from the start as the daughter of first season stallion Western Aristocrat showed good speed. She quickly established useful lead  going into the final furlong but Setaglow swiftly moved up and managed to overhaul the front-runner inside the final furlong  to record a satisfying win for the connections. Star Wind was third seven and a half lengths behind  Malana.

Suraj Narredu drove out his brother Rajesh Narredu’s  Super Smart to get the better of Tinderella to win the Mandya Plate run over a mile. Fiorenzo was third. Favourite Tanoura who had won against the run of expectations last time out at fancy odds failed to live up expectations of a repeat win as he was not positioned too well and did not improve to go out of contention well before the race came on the boil.

In a race meant for apprentice jockeys, Sharat Kumar trained Chicago who had three bad runs to show in  the season, it was clear was well prepared to land a coup. The winner attracted significant betting from the right connections and he made all proud winning the Mudabidri Plate. Jockey M Naveen who is now fairly experienced in terms of the number of rides that he has had, settled Chicago in a handy second position as Campfire led from the start. Chicago easily overtook the front-runner in the homestretch and stretched away for a facile win over Campfire.