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By Madhukar Bhagawan
Monday 02 Oct 2017
Prevalent Force (YS Srinath Up), winner of the Deccan Derby (Gr.I)

The 47th edition of the Deccan Derby (Gr.I) at Malakpet, Hyderabad was run in pouring rain and Darius Byramji trained Prevalent Force (Multidimensional-Prevalance / Usha Stud) galloped gallantly to beat the local filly Lady In Lace. Jockey Y.S. Srinath deserves all the accolades for timing his move at the right juncture in those appalling underfoot conditions.

Speaking about the hard earned victory with Indiarace,  Y.S. Srinath said, “this Derby was easily the toughest conditions in which to race and having said that, the real hero is Prevalent Force. He was headed by Lady In Lace about a furlong from home and fought back rather bravely and probably stayed better. The track also played funny. The race track had a torrential downpour and Malakpet was underwater in a few minutes. Prevalent Force saw it all through admirably and ‘soaked’ up the occasion!”

It started to rain as the seven runners left the paddock for the 2000 metres trip. The intensity of the rain got heavier and the visibility became very poor so much so that the camera and also the race commentator found it extremely difficult to get the colours for almost half the trip. Tutankhamun had charged to the lead early and was followed by Zelus, Kambaku, Prince Caspian, Bayrd, Prevalent Force and Lady In Lace. Prevalent Force made a quick move approaching the last 600 metres and Lady In Lace also followed suit even as Tutankhamun was a spent force by then. The two came away from the rest and were in a keen fight. The filly looked to be travelling the better with a furlong to go and also headed for a brief while but Prevalent Force and Srinath were up a determined effort and swooped on the ‘Lady’ to emerge clear. The others were completely beaten by the going and Kambaku among them finished third ahead of Zelus.

Suraj Narredu gave a brilliant ride on Anupam Sharma’s Ashwa Raftar (Sedgefield-Slam Strike / Jai Govind Stud) to lift the Turf Authorities Cup. The grey filly Amorous White who was on a hat-trick bid led early and settled in second when Mr. Baahubali showed some speed to get to the front. Entering the home stretch Amorous White shot ahead and was well in front. Suraj started to work on Ashwa Raftar and the chestnut gelding covered ground from behind and sped past in the last 100 metres. That’s My Darling and Kolors finished third and fourth respectively.

R.H. Sequeira trained Breezeofthesouth (Dancing Forever-Queen Of Normandy) that had found better in the last three starts scored a thumping win in the Kolkatta Cup. Pentagon and Aragonda Princess disputed the lead from the start and were together as they turned for home. Awesome Approach started to move up from the outside and Breezeofthesouth who braced the rails in third all the way was pulled out to make way between horses. Once the 4 years old got the opening, started to raise a good gallop and sped past passing the distance marker. Aragonda Princess held on in second from a late finishing Awesome Approach. Sea Castle filled the frame.

Big Heart (Western Aristocrat-Ciel Fleuri), a 10-1 shot from Donald Netto’s stables scored an encore in the Mumbai Cup. The youngster took a smart jump from the innermost draw and set off in front. Enjoying a good lead approaching the last furlong Big Heart stayed stubbornly ahead to survive a scare from the fast finishing Mahateji and Eternal Angel. The three went past the winning post in that order in a close finish.

Netto had earlier pulled off another upset win through Avantika (Whatsthescript-Belvedere Vixen) in the Mrs. K. Lakshmi Bhupal Reddy Memorial Cup. The filly stayed in second last as the field settled down and started to move up along the rails passing the 800 metres board. On entering the straight Surprise Party won the early fight with General Salute and tried hard to get a fourth win. Imran Khan worked hard on Avantika and the filly emerged in front and won well from the late finishing Raja Hindustani. Close behind the runner-up were Ikigai and Surprise Party in that order.

Sequeira also had a double for the day, scoring earlier with Undu Undu Undu (Equitable-Dama Grande) in the Bhagyanagar Cup. The gelding was a bit lethargic at start and braced the rear in the initial stages. Always moving around the packed field of 16 runners Undu Undu Undu was on the wide outside entering the straight. Dolce on a start to finish bid held forte till passing the 200 metres board and then Hunter’s Pride came charging to grab the lead. Undu Undu Undu also moved strongly from the outside and managed to get its head in front at the all important end. Rebellion flashed from out of the blue to finish third ahead of Aston Doulton.

Jockey P. Ajeeth Kumar and Ashwa Bahula (Mull Of Kintyre-Lii Najma / Sohna Stud) earned a win for trainer Anupam Sharma in the Chennai Cup. Racing with the rear buncu till turning for home Ashwa Bahula moved up from the wide outside and was up to challenge Heathrow that had slipped through horses close to the rails. Be Sure and Exclusive Striker also joined the fight and it was anybody’s race with half a furlong left. Heathrow was hampered for room along the rails and fell back to finish fifth while Ashwa Bahula managed to edge out Exclusive Striker close home. Be Sure and Treasure Striker finished third and fourth respectively.

S.S. Faisal Hassan trained Ta Ta (Rebuttal-Elzain / Hazara Stud) bounced back to winning ways in the Commanche Cup. Ice Mummy went on a start to finish bid and was in the lead till into the last 200 metres. Ta Ta racing in about sixth till turning for home was ridden out by Akshay Kumar from the wide outside and the 4 years old grabbed the lead readily and drew away. San Vinto and Sir Walter Raleigh finished together to get the second and third places respectively from Ice Mummy.

Trainer M. Sathyanarayana sent out winners in the opening and concluding races of the Derby day. City Of Pearls (Noverre-Pearl Moon), an on-money favourite in the Bengaluru Cup trounced the opposition. Moving up to challenge the front runners inside the last 300 metres City Of Pearls ridden by Akshay Kumar surged ahead and left the rest cold behind. Legend, Kireeti and Act In Time finished in that order behind the winner.

Dream Catcher (Green Coast-Florshen) completed the double for the trainer in the concluding race, the Tenacity Cup. In heavy going after the heavy rain during the Derby, Dream Catcher went to the lead within the first furlong and won the race by pulling away by a distance. Wild Heart, Invasion and Shandaar filled the frame in that order.