• 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 Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 01 Apr 2018
Mr Mehernosh H Deboo leading Madagascar (S Zervan Up), winner of The J D and Peggy Banatwalla Cup

It was a mixed day for followers of favourites on Sunday and if favourites didn’t oblige, generally fancied horses scored in most races. The day started on a disastrous note with Merlin breaking down at the bend. Gold Medalist was out on a start to finish mission and had Merlin, the second-in-demand following a couple of lengths away. Madagascar (Phoenix Tower – Taralaya, Manjri Stud) stalked the front runners.

At the turn, Merlin was in distress and broke down a development that saddened the race goers. Gold Medalist kicked on while Madagascar made steady progress. Although he had a bit to cover to account for the leader, Madagascar looked good all the time and it was a matter of time before he collared Gold Medalist. Jockey Zervan eventually guided Madagascar past the leader in the final 100 m and the Pesi Shroff ward strode away powerfully to notch up his second victory in as many starts.

Caprisca (Steinbeck – Xisca, Usha Stud) had it as easy as it can get. Taking off from the gates Trevor hit the front with Caprisca galloping at a brisk pace. Once in the straight, Caprisca accelerated further to skip away from them all leaving nothing to chance. Slefie Star tried hard to make a race of it, but Caprisca, on the day, proved far too superior to the rest. Caprisca won easing up by a whopping 6 lengths plus.

Komandant (Rebuttal – Czai, Hazara Stud) finally got his second winning bracket nearly two years after his maiden win in April 2016. He had shown a bit of spark lately and now in this lower set he asserted himself well to plunder the opposition at the finish. He raced in the rear until the turn and then switched lanes to mount his challenge from the wider out. Favourite Aloha was in the thick of things grappling for the lead with early leader Nightfall. Soon these two were joined by Lucky Luciano and trio was fighting fiercely when Komandant arrived with a big gallop. She swooped upon them all and sailed past the trio to score easily. Lucky Luciano looked good to last but only until Komandant got the better of him. Nightfall ended a good third, beating Aloha to fourth.

Fribourg (Noverre – Kaimana, Sohna Stud) made up for his last outing defeat with a splendid start to finish essay that was flawless. Apprentice Zeeshan grabbed the early advantage and held sway coming into the homestretch. Once in the homestretch, Fribourg showing off his fitness galloped on gamely stealing a march over his rivals. Dusky Siren and Rare Silver never let him relax as they started to mount pressure. Fribourg however, kept the momentum going and steered clear of the duo in hot pursuit, ultimately keeping them at bay and letting them fight for the runner-up berth. Rare Silver managed to nose out Dusky Siren for the second slot.

Pokerface (Stern Opinion – Silk Runner, Pratap Racecitement Stud) darted into the lead and took full advantage of the weight he was receiving from his closest rivals.  He looked good coming into the final furlong as none close behind were making any impression. Oracle came in with a late burst of speed and the way he covered ground, Pokerface did look in peril. However, Oracle tough clerly the fastest moving, just failed to knock Pokerface down, the winning post definitely coming to the rescue of the winner.

Collegium (Varenar – Alma Mater, Equus Stud) has been consistent all through and was even better on the day winning with a long stretch run to score with authority. Dance Emperor led them into the straight and soon She’s a Tiger went past to take charge. Trevor had a lot of work to do to keep his lead all through the long Mumbai straight. His worst fears came true when Collegium started to inch closer. Hudson was thereabouts but Zeeshan was found wanting. Collegium was making rapid progress and he got alongside She’s a Tiger inside the final furlong. The duo fought it out before Collegium got the better of She’s A Tiger to win by a length. Jigar improved positions and did well to win place money.

Sumaaq (Kingda Ka – Confluence, Tohana Stud) pulled off a gritty win after a series of consistent showing. He grabbed the lead with 400 to go and then galloped on resolutely to hold the momentum. Dibaba arrived with a late burst but Sumaaq with the in-form jockey CS Jodha fought off the challenger to stay on ahead and carve out a narrow victory. Dibaba too, like Oracle was unlucky to see a good effort go down so narrowly.