• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Wednesday 12 Jul 2017
Trainer Vikash Jaiswal leading Sporting Trainer (Akash Rajput Up), winner of The Aerona Cup

Trainer Vikash Jaiswal’s amazing assessment of his wards’ potential saw him bag a lucrative double on the opening day of the Calcutta Monsoon meeting with Sporting Trainer and Jester - after confidently backing them down to win against more reputed rivals. Both winners were piloted by Akash Rajput.

It was an afternoon of disappointment for jockey Christopher Alford as he drew a blank from his four mounts of the day - a second, a third and two favourites hopelessly off the board was his score on day-one. However, he did not deserve the verbal brickbats hurled at him.  While Archivolt and Aberfan were ridden flat out and finished second and third respectively, both Lucky Streak and King’s Crown were clearly uncomfortable on the monsoon track which had soaked in 48 hours of incessant rain before race-day.  It was an afternoon when sharp sprints were being pocketed by runners more comfortable over seven furlongs, such as Sporting Trainer, Be A Star and Bang Bang. The reason being, the sprinters were failing to cope with the going once they were shown daylight. The best of the fancied runners was Star One  who ended up a good second to Sporting Trainer (Phoenix Tower-Star Qualities/ Manjri Stud) in the feature event, The Aerona Cup. Much hyped Aamerican Agatta was yet another ‘struggler’ of the ill fated afternoon.

Trainer Patrick Quinn however had the consolation of picking up the Sweet Senorita Handicap with Spear Of Trium (Diffident-Queen Of Hearts/ Yeravada Stud) who carried his top-weight to triumph in the hands of A Imran Khan. The winner received a fright from Forest Dunes who moved well in the closing stages.

Of the two notable apprentices, Nikhil Naidu and Ranidan Singh, the latter was far more impressive. Ranidan notched up a brace for trainer Shafiq Khan with the three-year-old filly Be A Star and the vastly improved Bang Bang. Sired by Green Coast out of  All Heart, Be A Star displayed remarkable acceleration to get the better of course favourite Alshafa close home. The promising filly thus reserved a berth for herself in the rainy season’s first classic – the Fillies Trial Stakes.

The winner of his last two races at the fag end of the winter meet, Bang Bang (Stardan-Ballad Of Glory/ Rolli Stud) notched up a well-deserved hattrick as he swept past all and sundry in the straight. Heavily backed King’s Crown belied his name and made punters paupers. Those who treaded cautiously on the opening day of the short season were in fact the astute ‘winners’ of the day.

Trainer Javed Khan set the ball rolling as his 10/1 shot Colourful Dreams (Diffident-Act Smart/ Yervada Stud) made every post of the Fairy Heights Handicap a winning one despite drifting out to the outer rails. The handicapper’s scale drop helped the aged sprinter get the better of three-year-old Archivolt. Had the rider not declared 2.5kg overweight, he would have probably won a greater margin. But then, a win is a win, whatever the verdict. Well backed Ivy (Naidu up) did not seem too interested in the proceedings.

However, nothing can beat the handling of Words in the very next race. Though Afzal Khan’s current credentials as a jockey would be found wanting in more ways than one, his pathetic handling (intentionally or otherwise) of Words left much to be desired. For whatever reason, Words did not run to his potential. Javed Khan’s recent import Alien (Ontario-Kalmana) took advantage of the unsavoury scenario and landed the spoils in the hands of Shezad Khan.

Jester (Ace - Champagne Polka/ Exhilaration Stud) won the last race of the day by edging out Apsaras and Aberfan in yet another close contest to make the handicapper a happy man. The monsoon track was also up to the mark as despite the heavy showers, it did not produce any hiccups.