• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Saturday 10 Jun 2017
Mr Marthand Singh Mahindra, Mrs Rina Mahindra & trainer S S Attaollahi leading Siobhan (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Own Opinion Cup

The first race day after the license was obtained didn’t go kindly for the punters, only two favourites, Juneau from the Hyderabad camp and Zafran justifying their top billing in the nine-event card.

The second in demand at the betting ring, Siobhan won the Own Opinion Cup, her second straight win this season and taking into account that the Sulaiman Attaollahi ward is back at her best, Siobhan is in line to complete a hat-trick of wins when saddled next.

The fact that Krieger, who had finished second behind Siobhan in his last effort won the D Kumar Siddanna Memorial Cup in emphatic fashion boosted the stock of Siobhan, a good number of punters, who had earlier chosen to go big on Arvak shifting their loyalties and choosing to follow form. The decision proved to be very rewarding, Siobhan providing an encore without unduly extending herself. The favourite Side Winder in his effort to make every post a winning one found Siobhan too hot to handle in the final furlong and had to rest content with the runner-up berth. Topspot finished a game third ahead of Taqdeer Ka Badshah while the top weighted Integrated, it appeared was only in to get a run under his belt.

The bred in the purple filly Romantic Star from leading trainer Padmanabhan’s yard made a smashing debut winning the lower division of the Beautiful Babe Plate in resplendent style. The powerfully built filly who emerged the best winner on Saturday is in the classic mould and her progress this summer is certain to evoke interest. The Mumbai challenger Goshawk from M K Jadhav’s yard was fancied most in this event, but all that the public choice did was beat the rest while the lesser fancied winner certainly proved to be different class.

The upper division of the event also saw a five to one shot winner Kambaku from Arjun Manglorkar’s yard come up trumps snuffing out the challenge of another outsider Nicaragua. Ultimate Magic who enjoyed a run benefit, third behind the goodtype of filly Olympia Fields on the opening day opened the favourite before Great Tribute from Ganapathy’s yard was slammed down, his connections fancying the got-abroad sweetly depite the fact that he was making a debut over a distance of seven furlongs and was badly drawn (13) in the race.

Akshay Kumar astride the heavily backed youngster did well to gain a good favourable position early on in the race but after negotiating the final curve he went bust. Nicaragua in the hands of Sandesh looked set to register a pillar to post win before Kambaku from Arjun Manglorkar’s yard produced a good gallop in the hands of John to comfortably romp home in the end. Ultimate Magic again finished third while Hope Is Eternal took the fourth spot.

Sulaiman, who is enjoying a good run recorded a double on Zafran, the public choice coming up tops in the Charles Todhunter Memorial Cup run over a sprint. The sporting couple Marthand Singh Mahindra and Rina who had earlier led in Siobhan returned home most satisfied knowing that their horses are all firing this summer. Saga caught the eye while finishing second ahead of Blues Legend who was seen covering good ground towards the end while the second favourite Alaina only managed to fill the frame.

The Leo D’Silva schooled Juneau was backed to the exclusion of her 13 rivals in the Mauritius Pearl Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs, most track reporters and the nawabs from Hyderabad touting her as the day’s best betting proposition. Well all were proved right, the well backed public choice cruising home in the hands of leading pro Trevor Patel who recorded a fine treble, earlier guiding home Romantic Star and later packing punch on Zafran.The Satish Narredu-trained Shivalik Honour who too had a fair share of followers finished second ahead of Wild Wild Angels while Why Should I  came home fourth.

Trainer Narayan Gowda pulled off a good gamble on Fire Rainbow in the upper division of the Guindy Plate. The connections of the winner were so confident that they punted big on the four-year-old filly aware that Fire Rainbow didn’t belong to the lowest class. It was well planned coup and all the Fire Rainbow supporters were laughing all the way to the bank even before the winner approached the final furlong. Fire Rainbow on the strength of this performance is certain to provide an encore in the higher class. Florencia for the record finished second ahead of Granada while the favourite Wonder Woman went out of gas at the top of the straight.

The Kolkata hopeful Hartnell was fancied most by the insiders and the right connections in the Skyline Plate run over a mile. The Rutherford ward piloted in copybook fashion by Ashad Asbar stole a march the moment the big 14-horse field negotiated the final curve and won with a measure of comfort. Ninon from Neil Darashah’s yard finished second ahead of Turf Tactics who will earn his cornbill in the weeks ahead.

The Gregory Sandhu schooled Thalassa was the favourite in the opening event, but it was the second choice Captain Calm who prevailed to the delight of the fresh young trainer Dheeraj Venkatswamy who recorded his second win after gaining the licence this summer.