• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Wednesday 15 Mar 2017
Owner Mr. Suchit Jayraj Shah & trainer Rutherford Alford winner of Hartnell (A Ashad Asbar Up), winner of The Grand Annual Handicap

It was an amazing afternoon of ups and downs for visitors at RCTC on Wednesday. While several favourites obliged the punters during the afternoon, trainer Javed Khan and jockey Sandesh combined brilliantly to notch up a high-priced hat-trick for patron Rajendra Kumar Pandey whose stars must have been shining bright for that one hour of blitz when Rustler, German Guide and Sanvi bagged top honours. Javed and Sandesh however did not rest back on their laurels after that dazzling display and went on to record another victory with form-horse Francina.

The main event, The Grand Annual Handicap, witnessed trainer Rutherford Alford’s moment of glory as jockey Ashad Asbar piloted public choice Hartnell (Western Aristocrat – Mother’s Pride) to a start-to-finish triumph over the mile trip. There was indeed a strong challenge from top-weight Pothus but Asbar resorted to the stick and it served its purpose. Incidentally, last year Asbar had won this very race with friendless Dixie Diamond. The disappointment in the race was Danceress who showed no inclination to gallop at any point of the race.

The Javed-Sandesh show commenced with Rustler (Stardan – Pretty N Fast/ Rolli Stud) who moved late in the straight as he is wont to do, to peg back the likes of Blaze To Glory and Tangalooma in the race for the upper division of The Right Again Handicap. In the lower division of the same race, the duo landed a gamble with the well-backed German Guide (Lord Admiral – Sweet Vengeance/ Sans Craintes Stud). Just when Sweet Stone was shaping like a winner, Sandesh brought the top-weight with a devastating run to land the spoils at the wire. The hat-trick horse turned out to be the three-year-old filly Sanvi (Chevalier – Bow River Gold/ Ruia Stud) who like his predecessors moved with a late gallop to send much fancied Mercedes for a toss in the race for the Academy Gold Plate.

The prolific duo then went on to seal their lucrative afternoon’s work with a facile victory in the Brave Patriach Handicap with the fancied Francina (Sixtiex Icon – Tidie France). Earnest Ruler was a worthy second while the other well-backed runner The Stradle ended up in the ruck. It was S John’s last opportunity to break his duck for the day but to no avail. He realised midway up the straight that he was waging a lost battle and gave up the fight. That of course is the trade mark of a top jockey. They are unwilling to flog a dead-horse like the many run-of-the-mill riders. Local ace Christopher Alford is probably more adept at this art than any other. Incidentally, two other front-runners for the jockeys’ championship – Dashrath Singh and C Alford – ended the day with a blank score-sheet.

Trainer Shafiq Khan notched up a difficult brace with the well-plastered Warpath and the totally friendless Zephir. The first named, a five-year-old grey by Paco Boy out of Barathiki, did rather well to get the better of Ascend and All Rounder in the opener of the day. Jockey Hindu Singh rode a confident race on the 5/2 favourite while Neeraj Rawal atop All Rounder was squeezed out at the start and was badly positioned for most part, other than which he may have well overturned the verdict or at least finished closer to the winner.

Neeraj however made amends atop favourite Flamsteed (Alnasr Alwasheek-Zephyrella/ Poona Stud) in The Romantic Liaison Handicap when he returned victorious in a blanket finish featuring his mount, Rabda and Aberfan in that order.  The biggest outsider of the day turned out to be Zephir (Rebuttal-Zacheta’s Girl/ Hazara Stud) who pegged back top-weight Bullrun in the race for The Snow Forest Handicap. The latter is one for the notebook.

The curtain came down with Delhi’s man-of-the-moment Jasbir Singh registering a smashing victory with Zandra in the 2000 metres race for the Ming Dynasty Handicap. Jasbir, whose Rewalding had picked up The Delhi Derby one day earlier, continued the good work with Zandra (Dancing Forever-Sinner Girl) who was piloted confidently by his stable’s retained rider Mohit Singh. The winner was very badly bumped by Admantium in The Romantic Notes Handicap six weeks earlier, other than which he may well have won that 2000 metres race with leap-year jockey Pintu Das astride. Mohit did not leave anything to chance on this occasion as he rode his mount for eventual speed and took the widest route to stay away from any untoward traffic problems.