By Epsom Ace
Tuesday 28 Feb 2017
Mr B M Varma, Mr Jeet Banerjee, Dr Bhaskar Banerjee & trainer Bharath Singh leading Serendine (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Calcutta St. Leger (Gr.3)

There was high drama at the Calcutta racecourse on Tuesday as Bharath Singh-trained filly Serendine (Multidimensional – Flowersoftheforest/ Usha Stud) pulled off a miraculous victory in the Calcutta St Leger. As in the Queen’s Cup just over a fortnight earlier, Dashrath Singh’s power-packed finish once again had a large role to play. With less than 100 metres left in the 2800 metres race, there were four horses in a line vying for the top spot. The quartet in contention were Ballister, Ophion, Cadman and Serendine on the wide outside. At that point, with all four runners going flat out, it looked like anybody’s race. However, Dashrath relived the Queen’s Cup moment with another thrilling victory. Not satisfied with the runner-up spot, Neeraj Rawal (atop Cadman) lodged an objection against the winner, on the grounds of intimidation and ‘bumping’. Kudos to the senior stipe for overruling this frivolous objection in a jiffy.

In fact, had Cadman won the race, Dashrath would have had sufficient ground to lodge an objection for being taken out by Cadman and Rawal  near the 300m marker. Thereafter, Cadman tried to force a passage between Ophion and Serendine who was maintaining a straight path. When four runners are going hell for leather with barely 100 metres to go, there may be a touch or two, but there was definitely no intimidation and  bumping as alleged by Rawal.

Earlier Dashrath had ridden Bharath Singh-trained Suzanna (Win Legend-Just Amazing/ Dashmesh Stud) to a start-to-finish triumph in the Mayor’s Cup. Her mile run earlier in superior company, where she was understandably inconspicuous, no doubt helped her cause. Those who overlooked that run (including yours truly) paid the penalty for their ‘negligence’.

The other highlight of the day was a high-priced hat-trick by Vijay Singh and his heavy-weight jockey John. Their winners were  Blue Zone, Nashvilletennessee and Panchovilla. John carried 2kg over-weight in the first and last winners. Blue Zone (Noverre-Isle Of Mull/ Sohna Stud) won the Statue Of Liberty Handicap start to finish after shaking off early bird Shining Melody. Both Scarlet Emperor and American Agatta issued strong challenges but John’s driving finish did the trick. There were three fallers in the race and the enquiry is still open. While Aashad Asbar escaped unhurt, both Vinay Jaiswal and Md Islam were admitted to a nursing home with injuries to their arms and wrists.

Nashvilletennessee (Abbeyside-Ashleen) won the Aayush Handicap far more comfortably. She defied the 3kg penalty for her last narrow win without any difficulty whatsoever. The extra furlong suited her to the hilt. Her odds surprisingly increased to 9/2 as money came on top-weight Duke Of Earl who closed as the 3/1 favourite. It was  a forward run and he will be better for it.

The CROS Cup saw Rutherford Alford’s Hartnell open and close as the 12/10 favourite despite the presence of a run-of-the-mill jockey astride who has only a single winner to his name this season after 22 racedays. Ashad Aasbar, who rode the youngster in his first two efforts, is a far superior rider to Bandal. The race was closely contested by the Vijay Singh pair of Mercedes and Panchovilla (Win Legend-Sunshine Well/ Dashmesh Stud) with the latter prevailing. Though Hartnell finished on to be a close third, he never posed a threat to the other two.

The afternoon commenced with the two divisions of the Aemilia Handicap where fancied runners obliged. In the opener, Bath-trained Glorious Run (Rebuttal-Beautiful Crown/ Hazara Stud) pegged back the challenge of Fire Falcon while aged Kaartiken from Jasbir Singh’s yard finally came good at odds of 7/2 in the other division. The sprinter, with apprentice Ranidan Singh astride, collared runaway Super Striker inside the distance.

The curtain came down with another magical performance from David Allan who rode James McKeown’s Everybreakingwave (Win Legend-Total Chorus/ Dashmesh Stud) to her third win of the season. It was yet another display of masterly pace judgement by Allan.  He controlled the pace brilliantly to his advantage and left the field standing in the straight.