• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Wednesday 26 Jul 2017
Trainer J E Mckeown leading Mizuno (Hindu Singh Up), winner of The Mariinsky Cup Div-1

Trainers Bharath Singh and Patrick Quinn were in the limelight at the Calcutta Rcecourse on Wednesday as they both recorded popular doubles to make it a lucrative afternoon for local railbirds. Bharath and jockey Christopher Alford combined fruitfully to bring home the bacon with Gryffindor  (Lucifer Sam-Blumarine/ Sans Craintes Stud) and Tweedle Dee (Juniper-Linette/ Capricorn Stud). Joining the pair in the day’s honours list were Patrick Quinn and his rider A Imran Khan.  Their winners were So Regal (Opportunist-Regal Notes/ New Approach Stud) and last outing failed-favourite Alshafa (Multidimensional-Veena’s Pet/Usha Stud). So Regal won a hard-fought race to break out of the maiden ranks and then survived an objection from the second placed horse Bournville. The objection was rightfully overruled.  

Despite all the favourable action on the track, the afternoon may be remembered for all the wrong reasons. A section of punters at RCTC lost their cool after the third race and resorted to stone pelting the members’ enclosure. Fortunately, barring a few broken windows and damage to a couple of counters, there was no serious harm done. The mounted police present ensured that the irate crowd could not enter the members’ enclosure.

 The incident was sparked by the defeat of the favourite Friendship, which was Christopher Alford’s mount in The Adriana Plate. The filly was having only the second outing of her career.   Nearing the distance post, the hind legs of Alford’s mount slipped and the jockey looked back as her stride was broken. This is clearly visible when the recorded video is played in slow motion. The second favourite Surgical Strike (Abbeyside-Special Fx)  with S. John in the saddle was right behind her and she went on to win. It was to Alford’s credit that he eased up his mount as the inexperienced filly may have otherwise suffered a fatal accident. A less experienced rider may have whipped the filly at that juncture which would have undoubtedly caused a nasty fall for rider and horse.

Some of the punters immediately jumped to the conclusion that there was foul play involved. However, the Stewards took the right decision to immediately order an ‘enquiry’ into the race and repeatedly play the video tape in slow motion so that the angry section of the crowd could see for themselves what actually transpired near the distance post. This move by the authorities pacified the crowd to a large extent and their anger simmered down.

As it is the beginning of the monsoon season, horses are running after a span of three months or so and form has not settled down. Moreover we have experienced a fortnight of incessant rain. Quite a few favourites have come unstuck and quite naturally, some of the punters were more than a little frustrated. This freak incident triggered off their anger and they vented their rage at the authorities. However, on this day, they ultimately went home a happy lot as four favourites and a second favourite occupied the winners’ enclosure.

Manvendra Singh opened his account for the season with a stunning victory in the Bold Raider Handicap. Hindu Singh rode a power-packed finish astride unfancied Theo (Top Class – Real Queen) to peg back the fancied runners Splash Proof and Joss who occupied the minor berths. Hindu Singh went on to complete a fabulous day at office when James McKeown’s Mizuno (Noverre-Sama/ Sohna Stud) got the better of course favourite My Lady Luck in the race for the upper division of The Marinsky Cup. The lower division of the same race was bagged by Quinn’s Alshafa who wore down Lady Two in the straight.