• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Sunday 24 Jun 2018
Mr Tegbir Brar & Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Sir Cecil (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)

It was a classic contest and it proved to be a real classic finish at end. The second classic of the season, the Colts Championship Stakes was a two-horse affair, Sir Cecil from Padmanabhan’s yard holding an edge against the Rajesh Narredu schooled Star Superior. The two really set the stands alight fighting every inch of the ground in the last two furlongs before the Padmanabhan ward gained the day in a pulse-pounding finish. While one needs to applaud the gusty effort of the grey from the Dashmesh Stud Farm you need to mention that in defeat Star Superior was not disgraced and lives to fight another day and that will be the derby-day next month.

Sir Cecil who had remained unbeaten winning his lead up race by a huge margin of 18 lengths looked good in the paddock while his arch rival Star Superior looked better. The fact that Star Superior had won his lead up race in a faster timing than Sir Cecil provided big hope for his connections including the Poonawalla brothers who bought half share in the horse paying a King’s ransom.  

After the classic hopefuls came under the starter’s flag for the mile long classic journey, Sir Cecil was very keen to get going and Neeraj had to really hold him to settle him behind the leader Barnabas from Hyderabad. Sir Cecil tracked Barnabas into the straight before Neeraj stepped on the pedal and the response was good and quick. The winner gained a two-length cushion before Star Superior stormed into contention and after a ding-dong battle, the handsome grey clinched the issue at the shadow of the winning post much to the delight of the Padmanabhan camp. Hyderabad`s Vikki Tikki Tavi came home third.

Irfan Ghatala trained Shesmyscript made a winning debut in the Fantabulous King for maiden juveniles. Summer Palace who had twice finished second was strongly fancied to score in this event but the Sulaiman ward after being favourably placed at the top of the straight packed up much to the chagrin of the followers of form. Royal Resolution who led the field into the final furlong was overhauled by Shesmyscript who unleashed a winning gallop in the hands of Zervan to peg back Tyto Alba who struggled in the early part of the race to keep pace. Excellent Memory ran on to finish third ahead of Royal Resolution.

Sandesh who has failed to consistently boot home winners this summer finally came good on the Darius Byramji-trained After Hours who pegged back the challenge of Scarlet Princess close home in the Sweet Memories Trophy run over a mile. The  Favourite Setaglow again failed to justify top billing and finished a tame third.

Gregory Sandhu brought off a good gamble on African Emperor who slammed a moderate field in the upper division of the Justice P Medappa Memorial Trophy. Call  Me May Be led the field into the straight but she failed to match strides with African Emperor who streaked ahead and put the issue beyond doubt in the final furlong. Color of Gold gained the runner-up berth ahead of Call Be May Be.The lower division of the event was claimed by rankoutsider Royal Rein from Samar Singh’s yard who edged out the well fancied Birchwood in the final furlong.

The bred in the purple colt, Snowdon from the stables of Padmanabhan’s yard was backed to the exclusion of his 13 rivals in the Dupont Plate run over a sprint despite the fact that he was drawn badly (14) in the event, but the debutant showed good speed to quickly run in from outside draw to sit behind the leader Into The Groove before flashing past the post first. The winner is a goodtype of youngster and more will be heard of him in the weeks ahead.

The Alekona Trophy was claimed by Starry Wind, another from Darius’ yard. The winner produced a sparkling gallop at the distance post to go past Export Quality who raised hopes of his supporters after establishing what looked like a winning lead before Starry Wind flew in to reign supreme.