• 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 Ikram Khan
Saturday 06 Jan 2018
Trainer S S Attaollahi leading Gestapo (P Trevor Up), winner of The New Year Cup (Gr.3)

The railbirds enjoyed a good run under the cool winter sun on the opening day of the season on Saturday. The racing buffs back after a four-month lay-off boldly made good investments in a game they love and with the results going their way, five favourites nailing bold colours to the mast, it proved to be a good rum and cola start this winter.

The Sulaiman Attaollahi schooled Gestapo, the winner of the first plum, the New Year Cup, was the most impressive winner in the eight-event card. Making his appearance almost two years after his last essay, Gestapo provided the in-form Trevor Patel an arm-chair ride to success, snuffing out the challenge of Bold Command without raising a sweat. It was indeed a resplendent effort and Sulaiman deserves a pat on the back for sending out Gestapo spot on after the long break.

The Inayathullah-trained Pinyada was one other firm favourite who won the principal added attraction, the Stewards Trophy in emphatic fashion. Suraj astride the winner tracked the run-away leader Lightning Strikes for most part of the journey before he alerted the public choice at the distance post and the Inayathullah ward quickly sped past the leader to romp home in style. Both Gestapo and Pinyada are in fine form and set to provide an encore.

The first event for juveniles saw the Padmanabhan schooled Sir Cecil make a smashing debut in the Black Cavalier Plate run over a sprint. The on-money winner from the Dashmesh Stud Farm looks a good type and more will be heard of Sir Cecil in the weeks ahead. Diamond Rays finished a creditable second ahead of Subah Ka Tara while King Of The Wind took the fourth spot.

Back after leading in the first winner of the season, Padmanabhan struck again through the favourite Princess Rumela, the Princess winning the lower division of the Nilgiris Plate run over a sprint.  The Neil Darashah-trained Mulholland too was strongly fancied in this event but all he could do was save the small money in place, finishing a tame third behind the late finishing Shades Of Desire.

The much fancied Bellerophon was one another from Neil’s yard who bit the dust. Competing in the Belur Plate, Bellerophon after raising hopes of his supporters midway up the straight went phut like a pricked balloon and plodded in fourth. The eight to one shot, Incitatus from M R Singh’s yard piloted by Ramu produced a sparkling gallop at the all-important end to earn his cornbill ahead of Country’s Pearl and Cashmere.

The Irfan Ghatala schooled Donna Rossa on the strength of her smashing win in her last start in summer garnered the maximum support in the G Krishnappa Memorial Trophy run over a distance of seven furlongs. Lawrence Of Arabia  from Padmanabhan’s yard too had his fair share of supporters. The two market leaders lost out even before the race came on a boil. The ten to one shot Rum Runner from Prasanna Kumar’s yard came up trumps in the hands of John easily pegging back the challenge of lesser fancied Nicaragua while Don’t Dilly Dally impressed most while finishing third and is one for the notebook.

The upper division of the Nilgiris Plate produced a shock result, Florencia from Mohd. Khan’s yard cantering home ahead of another outsider Barog while the two top fancies Aerospeed and Panama appeared to have run out gas at the distance post. Barog making his maiden appearance as a four-year-old caught the eye and it will pay to follow this Sulaiman ward when next saddled.

In the concluding event, the Bidar Plate run over a sprint, the Dominic-trained Tzar opened the favourite before money came pouring in on the M R Singh schooled Erdemir. The former despite looking a picture of fitness at the parade ring was offered at (3/1) but that didn’t stop Tzar from putting his best strife forward to romp home in style.  Erdemir was badly interfered early on in the event by Shivakumar astride the Sandhu schooled Agneta after which he failed to progress. It is clear that Erdemir on this day wouldn’t have beaten the winner but Shivakumar needs to tighten up his game and exercise more caution in a race.