• Ruffina wins The Sprinters Cup (Gr.1)
  • Azzurro wins The Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup (Gr.1)
  • Whomakestherules wins The Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr.1)
  • Kangra wins The Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) in record timing
By Epsom Ace
Monday 01 Jan 2018
Mr Subir Dasgupta & trainer Vijay Singh leading Aashna (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Indian Produce Stakes

The New Year’s Day races at this centre has always been a glamour event that socialites of this city are keen to attend. Though bleary-eyed after attending the late-night bashes at the various clubs, well-dressed men and colourfully clad women of all ages trooped in through the turnstiles well before the first race at noon. The stands were well and truly bulging by the third race of the day. 

With the current cold weather playing its part, this year’s mega event witnessed an attendance of over 20,000.  Speaking to www.indiarace.com, secretary Kanchan Jana said that considering it was a Monday, it may be considered as a very encouraging figure. “Though there were no celebrities among us, the crowd was colourful and well-behaved who had made it a point to enjoy themselves – come what may. What added to their merry-making was that seven favourites obliged in a card of nine race,” he said. “The turnstiles never stopped turning as visitors poured in by the hundreds. The totalisator counters were jingling with cash right through. The tote collection of nearly Rs 1.5 crore was almost double that of any other day,” he added.

Some members of the fair sex could be seen tapping their feet to the Neil Diamong oldies and other gold discs of the sixties and seventies that the DJ seemed so fond of, and which were indeed rather apt for the occasion. Selfies were the order of the day and classy smart phones and I-phones were vying with each other for attention as well manicured hands were seen holding them up. 

The race for the RCTC Gold Vase provided a suitable climax to the day’s proceedings as a rip-roaring finish saw Ophion edge out Serendine for the top spot. Those of you looking for an encore are advised to make it to the same venue next Sunday when the Calcutta Derby is scheduled to be run. That ought to be a race worth waiting for as it is sure to set the adrenalin flowing !

There was no deviation from the New Year’s Day script as James Mc Keown’s Ophion and Bharath Singh-trained Serendine fought tooth and nail, all the way down the straight, in their quest to lift The RCTC Gold Vase run over 2200m. The duo were virtually reliving their battle for the St Leger almost a year ago. The only difference being that on this occasion, Ophion (Abbeyside-Bold Reply) reversed the verdict with a little help from Suraj Narredu the saddle. Suraj completed a well-backed treble during the day with Advika, Ophion and Aashna. The last named bagged the cash-rich Indian Produce Stakes without raising a sweat. The Vijay Singh-trained filly looks all set for greater laurels in the near future. Jockey Dashrath Singh was the other visiting professional to dazzle during the first day of the new year as he notched up a double with the Bharath Singh-trained pair of Alldero and Ayra’s Pet.   

The afternoon commenced with blue-blooded Alderro (Multidimensional- Allaire/ Usha Stud) showing that he is cut out for a mile and above. Though the whips were flashing in the final furlong, there’s no doubt that Alderro was moving far better than his nearest rival Raqs Sharqi. Dashrath had to pull out all stops on Ayra’s Pet (Express Wish-Tsesebee/ Mebajeona Stud) to get the better of One Man Army close home.  Top-weight Namid (Phoenix Tower-Aquila Oculus/ Manjri Stud) did well to lift the  Friends FM Cup. Zervan’s incessant pressure on the Arti Doctor-trained five-year-old kept the dangerous Avarua at bay.

Manvendra Singh’s Pierce Arrow (Rebuttal-Daughter Of Life / Hazara Stud) won the t2 Cup in the hands of Hindu Singh after he moved with a telling run in the straight to leave Celerino and the field behind.The Vijay Singh pair of Advika and Aashna both won their races as they liked. While Advika (Multidimensional-Set Ablaze/ Usha Stud) toyed with the opposition in the race for the Bookmakers Association Cup Aashna (Win Legend-Ray Of Sunshine/ Dashmesh Stud) quite easily got the better of Coup De Grace in the cash-rich Indian Produce Stakes. After a few anxious moments at the gates, Patrick Quinn’s Perfect Balance (Tariq-Balance De Power/ Equus Stud) came good with C Alford in the saddle. The curtain came down with the day’s biggest upset – Rolly Polly – to make it a memorable New Year’s Day for owner Divya Chawcharia who led in three winners. The Shafiq Khan trained mare by Dancing Forever out of Shivalik Stone (Hazara Stud) was piloted by leap-year jockey Afzal Khan who was simply elataed with this triumph on such a happy occasion.