• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Epsom Ace
Saturday 13 Jan 2018
Trainer Vijay Singh leading Multitude (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Calcutta Champions' Sprint Trophy (Gr.3)

Trainer Vijay Singh’s Multitude (Multidimensional-Haedi/ Usha Stud) lifted the Calcutta Champions Sprint Trophy with a degree of comfort and ensured his ticket for the Sprinters Cup at this centre in early March. The entire field of five runners were in a straight line near the distance post before Dashrath astride the half-money public choice Multitude coaxed that extra ounce of effort from his mount to win by just over a length. The other four runners finished within half-a-length of each other to make it a well-contested 1200m sprint. Four-year-old Fortune Express is likely to improve after this effort while recent import and second favourite Denny Crane needed the outing.

The afternoon proved to be difficult for followers of money as four outsiders hoisted the winning flag. They were Major Colours, Artificial, Jezzabelle and Apalachee. Three whip-less apprentices – P. Vikram, Rupal Singh and RS Bhati -  added to their winning tally. 

The day commenced with 4/1 shot Queen’s Kitten winning the Astrodance Handicap while shouldering top-weight. Apprentice Nikhil Naidu patiently waited  with his mount before making his move in the straight. The Rutherford Alford-trained filly by Dean’s Kitten out of Ocean Queen responded well to his rider’s call in the straight to sail past the front-running Rising From Ashes  despite running erratically.

Rather surprisingly, the most consistent horse in the next race was the most ignored one as well – possibly because he was running in a higher class. However Farley Rodrigues-trained Major Colours (Arabian Gulf – Trace Of Magic/ Manjri Stud) responded well to apprentice P. Vikram’s vigorous urgings to get the better Monaco close home. The latter will be worth following. Taking a leaf out of Vikram’s book, apprentice Rupal Singh on Artificial (Multidimensional-Altitude/ Usha Stud) did  a splendid job to get the better of Carpe Noctem close home and at the same time keep the menacing Logano at bay. It was a hat-trick of whip-less apprentices as RS Bhati booted home the on-money public choice Sweet Music (Dean’s Kitten – Zahwah) in the mile race for the Harley Davidson Cup .

Both Friendship and Raqs Sharqi were the joint 5/2 favourites in the race for the Lt Gen Jameel Mahmood Memorial Cup to be run over 1600m. As the gates opened, both the owner mates Friendship and Archivolt went stride for stride at a good, solid pace till the turning for home where they duo quite naturally came apart. Into the straight, Zandra and Raqs Sharqi took over the reins and were at the helm of affairs. It did seem that Rupal Singh atop Zandra may pull it off, but it was not to be as top-weight jockey B Mahesh rode a hard finish on Raqs Sharqi (Royal Gladiator- Safe Keeping/ Pratap Stud) to land the spoils. It was fine effort from the rider after his equally hard-fought victory on Rewalding the previous raceday.

The last four races saw Patrick Quinn notch up a brace. A lot of money came on Alisha’s Pet (Ace-Entendu/ Exhilaration Stud) and the six-year-old mare did not disappoint. Stylish jockey Imran Chisty had to pull out all stops to overcome the four-year-olds Gryffindor and Leopard Creek at the wire. It was indeed a bold gamble by the connections which bore fruit – the total disappointment in the race being Millenium Glory.

Though Romanoff was the rage of the ring in the race for the Speed Inc Trophy, it was the filly Kefira who got a flier and opened a huge gap till the bend. Hotly pursued by rank outsider Jezabelle (Md Islam up), Kefira finally succumbed to the latter’s persistence in the final 50 metres. The winner is by Burden of Proof out of Showin Off (Kunigal Stud). The curtain finally came down on a long afternoon of racing as Quinn’s Apalachee (Serious Spender-Aprillia) got the better of the favourite Levante in the hands of visiting jockey Ryan Marshall.