• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
IRFAN, NEIL BACK ON WINNING TRACK
BANGALORE
By Ikram Khan
Friday 16 Feb 2018
Trainers Irfan Ghatala leading Cantabria (Nazerul Alam up), winner of The Dr C Vittal Memorial Trophy

Trainers Irfan Ghatala and Neil Darashah brought the smile back on the face of their supporters. The two so far had only two wins to show this season and the doubles they registered on Friday will help get the monkey off the back and in the weeks ahead Irfan and Neil are certain to add a couple more before the curtains are drawn on the winter season.

Irfan first struck through Iris, who proved too good in the lower division of the Manipal Plate. The Dominic schooled Music Divine too was strongly fancied to score in this event but the Dominic ward packed up even before the race came on a boil, while Iris bolted in in the hands of Anjar Alam. Iris appears to be in the best of health and is certain to provide an encore when saddled next.

In the Dr C Vittal Memorial Trophy run over a distance of seven furlongs, Cantabria from Irfan’s yard piloted by apprentice jockey Nazerul Alam edged out rankoutsider Birchwood and the two market leaders As Time Goes By, who was the overwhelming favourite and Setaglow. The favourite from Neil Darashah’s yard looked good at the top of the straight but ran out of gas in the final furlong to finish a poor fourth behind Setaglow.

A trifle disappointed by the loss of As Time Goes By, Neil finally got one to lead, Mulholland making every post a winning one in the upper division of the Manipal Plate run over a sprint. The topweighted Albaretta back after an impressive victory in her last start and Mulholland garnered the maximum support before Mulholland closed firm favourite and he justified his top billing romping home to earn his maiden winning bracket. Apprentice jockey Shamaz Sheriff who came home trumps on Albaretta in her last essay failed in his mission to provide adequate saddle assistance to the topweight and eventually failed to make the frame. Allsettogo gained the runner-up spot ahead of Mischief Flyer and Hunters Moon who appears ready to earn his cornbill in his next attempt.

Notos was quietly fancied by the insiders and the right connections in the concluding event and the Neil ward put the issue beyond doubt the moment he took charge approaching the distance post. Perfect Prince did well to take the second spot ahead of Tic Tac Toe while the two top fancies Jack Of Hearts and Magnificent Mary performed below par, though it must be mentioned that the Faraz Arshad-trained `Jack’ encountered rough passage after the start and lost ground which he found hard to cover up at end.

The Samar Singh schooled Subah Ka Tara was head and shoulders above the rest in the juveniles event and the public rage provided leading pro Srinath an arm-chair ride to success in the opening event. Decisive finished second ahead of Candlelightqueen while Annalease took the fourth spot.

After finishing many times second, Balian had earned the choker tag. And he finally got rid of the tag winning the Mandya Plate run over a distance of nine furlongs in the hands of Scottish pro David Allan. Czar Rule gained the runner-up berth ahead of Del Porto who performed a shade below his winning effort last time out.

Advantageously placed in at the scales after his command performance in his last essay, Kvasir from Prasanna Kumar’s yard was fancied most in the Pratap Stud Plate. The favourite met a tartar in China One who produced an astounding gallop in the final furlong to snatch the verdict from Kvasir close home. Irvan Singh partnered the winner who was ignored in the betting ring, paying out a handsome dividend of Rs 750 on a tenner at the tote window. Kvasir in defeat was not disgraced and lives to fight another day.