Owner Mr. Jodeep Datta Gupta & trainer Bharath Singh leading Silverina (Suraj Narredu Up), Winner of The Kunigal Stud Indian Produce Stakes
The New Year’s Day races at Calcutta lived up to expectations and enthralled the large gathering of 20,000 odd well attired visitors. Whether they were first-timers, socialites or regulars, they all had a gala time. When the track or paddock failed to rivet their attention, they had plenty of pleasant sights to gaze upon and pass their time. Further, a sprawling food court and a live band added to the carnival atmosphere.
The racing itself was pretty form-oriented and quality stuff. The main event, The Kunigal Stud Indian Produce Stakes, saw the highly rated fashionably bred filly Silverina (China Visit-Silver Print) put her best foot forward despite the Vijay Singh stable putting in a great challenge with Snowscape. The Bharath Singh-trained on-money winner was not permitted to run freely up front by Accrews till the bend. The effort must have taken a toll on her, for when she did pull away from the latter, his stablemate Snowscape was put into top gear by Neeraj Rawal. The grey colt was gaining ground but the winning post came to the rescue of the filly. It was indeed a well-planned coup by the Vijay Singh stable which very nearly paid off. Suraj Narredu atop the winner did well to get the best out of her without using the stick as that may well have acted adversely on her. The property of Mr Joydeep Datta Gupta has a long career ahead of her and she has to enjoy the game which she seems to be doing.
The RCTC Gold Vase turned out to be another thriller. The favourite Razmaden was available at 2/1 while Work Force and Oban were next in demand. However, the four runners involved in a fairly close finish were all outsiders – Washington Irvine, Caravaggio, Topkapi and Cambiasso – in that order. Trainer Vijay Singh’s Washington Irvine (Razeen-Magic Fountain) was indeed well prepared but ignored by most as his last couple of runs were unimpressive. As for Caravaggio, he appears to have reached his limit while Topkapi still has scope for improvement.
The indiarace.com Trophy went according to script with Pesi Shroff-trained Coppelia (Noverre-Patricia) quite easily accounting for the front-running Isle Of Capri. Jockey Parmar had none to fear as the other two fancied runners – Glynneath and Avision – were never in it.
The afternoon commenced with Christopher Alford having a tough time guiding the 10-to-4-on favourite Abriella home. Top-weight Crown Rule made things difficult for the Vijay Singh-runner though he was conceding 7kg to the eventual winner. Oakdale’s lacklustre effort may be attributed to the phenomenal 13kg penalty she suffered for finishing fourth in the 1000 Guineas. That is a whole lot of penalty. By running the Guineas, she had left herself wide open for the handicapper’s sucker punch – and boy did he deliver. In the process, she has probably lost out on a couple of handicap races. One has to feel a twinge of sympathy for her owner. Both Abriella and Washington Irvine are owned by the city’s well known red-and-gold brigade of Mr Deepak Khaitan.
The two divisions of the Retained Asset Trophy saw high-priced runners occupying the winner’s berth. Javed Khan-trained Accomplished came with a scintillating run along the rails to get the better of the favourite Mehzabeen. Shailesh Shinde rode a powerpacked finish on this six-year-old by Diffident out of Abound.
Much fancied Gentle Jewel and Ijlal were undone by Elusive Thought (Hurricane State-Elusive Contest). Ajoy Roy made it a start-to-finish affair atop this Vijay Singh-trained runner and came out on top in a close finish with Ijlal to make owner Mr. Harish Ramchandani a happy man.
A recent import from the Janardhan yard in western India – Special FX (Sunday Doubt-Minnekonda) gave jockey Aadesh Kumar an armchair ride in the sprint for the Soviet Song Trophy. The favourite Star Symphony burst his blood vessels. As for Agent Archie, it appears that he has been the victim of poor placements, rather than any sinister motives.
The worst run race during the day was the mile event for the Rommel Trophy. The on-money public choice Sanskriti put up a poor display while front-running Noble Defender drifted out to the outer rails. Hadrian looked promising till he too drifted out. It was left to Beethoven and Happy Princess to fight out the finish as the duo made a beeline for the winning post. Trevor Patel on Bharath Singh-trained Happy Princess (Epicentre-Tiana) prevailed by a whisker.
Bharath Singh completed his treble when he brought the curtain down with Ocean Myth (Warrshan-Starry). Jockey Suraj Narredu had to crack the whip a couple of times to sail past Mistral and Blue Grass.