• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Saturday 25 Feb 2017
Trainer Neil Darashah leading Apache Sunrise (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Governor's Trophy

Neil Darashah, who picked up a few classics including the classic double at Udhagamandalam through Battalion and the 1000 and 2000 Guineas this winter has one more gun loaded for the summer. The talented  Apache Sunrise who recorded a hat-trick on Friday confirmed that he is in the classic mould while he donkey-licked his four rivals to canter home in the  Governor`s Trophy, run over a mile. The smart son of Excellent Art  from the Poonawalla Stud Farm, it must be mentioned is in top form and that should delight Neil taking into account that in the short summer you need horses in form to obtain quick and decisive results. 

After his two effortless victories, it was clear that the short-priced favourite was head and shoulders above the four. In fact his entry put the fear among the many who were looking to campaign their wards in this event. That resulted in many hopers opting out and only five came under the starter’s flag for the feature event.

Noble Splendour set a good pace and that suited  Suraj Narredu astride the public choice, who without breaking any sweat tracked the leader. Apache Sunrise travelled well within himself into the straight and even without the jockey having to move a muscle, the favourite left the rest stranded to win by a widening margin of nine lengths from the Prithviraj schooled Lycurgus. On the strength of this fabulous performance Apache Sunrise is a frontline contender for the Colts Championships, the second classic of the summer season. 

Apache Sunrise apart, leading pro Srinath cornered glory recording a fine treble. Srinath helped Gregory Sandhu pull off a good gamble on Ravelnation in the Tumkur Plate. The winner was strongly fancied by the right connections and he readily justified the confidence of his camp producing a winning gallop at the top of the straight to romp home a deserving winner. Leon chased the winner without hope while Internal Affair succeeded in nosing out Firing Line for the third spot.

Srinath had earlier packed punch on the Manohar schooled Storm in the K Venkatesh Nayak Memorial Trophy.  The winner was offered at (7/1), money pouring in on Dagobert. After Tax Free shot his bolt at the top of the straight Storm stormed through to score in convincing style. Tamara finished on purposefully to take the runner-up berth ahead of Dagobert.
In line for a treble, Srinath successfully adopted a pillar to post approach on the Sriram Komandur-trained Varsha in the upper division of the Gadag Plate. Zafrina came in for spirited support but all that the joint favourite did was take a lot of good money down the drain. Island Pearl finished a game second and is one for the notebook.  

Narayan Gowda-trained Loveisintheair brought off an upset win in the lower division of the race. Loveisintheair produced a powerful burst on the wide outside to surge ahead of favourite Brunesco in the final stages of the race to win the race in a tight finish. 

Prasanna Kumar schooled Star Cracker back after a long lay-off produced a heartwarming performance, winning the Hurricane Stud Plate, edging out Reference close home while negotiating the mile long trip.  The winner who has tremendous scope for improvement will be the horse to follow in summer. Imran Khan produced a neat effort on the winner, packing punch and driving home the Prasanna ward in the final furlong to snuff out the challenge of Reference.

Cashmere won the Ramanagar Plate beating the favourite Kirathaka in the lowest class. Slightly Blonde was third while Al Faaris who garnered good support was not sighted.

Mahesh-trained Fractals very nearly brought off a big upset but was caught napping at the post up by the fancied Tree Lounge from Arjun Manglorkar’s yard in the Altenburg Plate run over a mile.  Fractals led all the way and shaped like a winner in the hands of Shiva Kumar before John riding like one possessed brought Tree Lounge into contention in the final furlong and gained the verdict in the final stride.