• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Wednesday 29 Mar 2017
Trainer Vijay Singh leading Commander (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Midnight Cowboy Cup

Vastly experienced trainer Vijay Singh, utilised the recent acquisition of his yard – Commander – to good effect when he made a final entry with the eight-year-old and lifted the Midnight Cowboy Cup at RCTC on Wednesday in great style. The Cup was deferred from the races cancelled on March 8, at which point there were only five acceptances (without Commander who was under the care of Malesh Narredu at that time). The master stroke by the connections to make a final entry despite the trip of six furlongs being considered a little too sharp for him, paid rich dividends as Commander (Noverre – Momentarily/ Sohna Stud)  romped home well clear of the course favourite Evesham. It was quite clear after this run that the latter is not the same horse that graced the Vijay Singh yard some months ago. He seems to have lost his lustre after leaving the yard of his earlier mentor.

Jockey Neeraj Rawal and Vijay Singh thus completed a cup double as the duo had earlier picked up the Delhi Race Club Cup with Setaflame (China Visit-Set Aside/ Usha Stud). The winner was given a rough ride by Munna Alam in his last essay when the rider was fined Rs 5000/- for excessive use of the whip.  On this day, the versatile galloper who seems to be comfortable over any trip from seven furlongs to 2800m, was handled in a far more sophisticated manner by Rawal. Following the surprise front-runner Acrider till the distance post, a couple of cracks from Rawal’s stick sent Setaflame soaring into the lead, well clear of his adversaries. The disappointment in the race was Interstellar whose earlier run was far more encouraging.

One race earlier, in the sprint for the Bhishma Handicap, Vikash Jaiswal’s Jacknife (Mull Of Kintyre-Bukat Timah/ Sohna Stud) picked up his fourth race of the season when he got the better of his rivals in an amazing four-horse photo finish. The race seemed to be heading for a close contest between Shivalik Story and Roman Flame who were locked in a duel all the way down the straight. With barely 100 metres left, both Flanker and Jacknife (Akash Rajput up) joined the issue and the last named prevailed by the proverbial whisker.

The upper division of The Myall King Handicap witnessed an equally close finish. Bath-trained Glorious Run  (Rebuttal-Beautiful Crown/ Hazara Stud)  lived up to his name as he galloped resolutely in the straight to get the better of Lucky Streak at the wire. This was the sprinter’s third win of the season and he was piloted on all three occasions by Shezad Khan. In the lower division of the same race, Sarfaraz Khan’s Words (Ikhtyar-Wild Glory/ Nanoli Stud) made it a virtually start-to-finish affair. The favourite Jabble did not run to expectation.

Vikash Jaiswal’s Born To Win (Senure-Autocop) came good on this occasion as he completed 10 winners for apprentice Nikhil Naidu, thus making him eligible to carry the whip on subsequent racedays. On this day, Born To Win was engaged in a close contest with Altus from the word go and overhauled him near home. The rest of the runners were never in it.

The afternoon commenced with top-weight jockey Mahesh bring home the bacon with Javed Khan-trained New Challenger (New Famous – Anna Karenina/ Yeravada Stud) who made every post of the Cheviot Handicap a winning one. Desert Cat was a game second and will be worth keeping an eye on.

Jockey Dashrath Singh drew a blank during the long afternoon while Christopher Alford notched up his sole winner of the day when he guided home Rolly Polly (Dancing Forever-Shivalik Stone) to a fairly comfortable triumph in the last race of the afternoon.  The Shafiq Khan-trained ward (earlier called Sweet Stone) was handled competently by Alford as he took the shortest route home and kept at bay fast finishing El Cid.