Trainer S Ganapathy leading Southern Bay (B Sreekanth Up), winner of The Bangalore Oaks Grade-II
Hot favourite Southern Bay displayed her known staying abilities while romping home to an easy victory in The Bangalore Oaks(Grade II) on Saturday. Without raising a sweat, she put it accross her eight rivals and credited Dr MAM Ramaswamy with his 551st Classic success in a long racing career. Trainer Ganapathy needs to be commended for bringing her out in immaculate condition. She looked extremely well in the paddock and was totally relaxed while being paraded in the ring. Southern Bay came into this race with proven credentials. Her victories in The 1000 Guineas at both Mysore and Bangalore had confirmed that she was the best amongst her age and sex at Bangalore. Her close second to Field Marshal in The Poonawalla Mysore Derby was equally impressive. There were many who felt that she was a trifle unlucky in that race. They opened that a slightly better effort from her rider could have reversed the verdict that day. Southern Bay was the highest rated filly in today's race, and in addition to that, she was bred to stay. Keeping all these factors in mind, the bookmakers were reluctant to "lay" this runner. They offered a measly 45/100 on her. As regards the others, you could literally write your own card on them.
The race was run at a fairly moderate pace. David Allan pushed Nearness Of You into an early lead and showed the way to Southern Bay, Lad Lady, Radical Attraction and Dancerella. The other four were strung out in single file as the runners traversed the first half of their journey. The leader increased the margin to over six lengths near the four furlong marker, while the others were still waiting to make their moves. An incident at this stage marred the proceedings. Darius Byramji's At The Helm injured her rear leg and stopped galloping. However, the action in front unfolded on expected lines. Nearness Of You shot her bolt at the bend and surrendered the lead to the favourite. Sreekanth released his grip on Southern Bay and asked her to quicken. Within a fraction of a second, she assumed command of the situation and cantered away from her rivals. She completed the formalities by strolling away to an easy victory over a heavily punished pair of Lad Lady and Radical Attraction. Southern Bay is sure to start as a firm favourite in The Bangalore Derby on Republic Day. Jockey Sreekanth rode a near perfect race on the winner.
Arjun Mangalorkar cornered the day's honours by saddling a superb treble during the afternoon. Wrekin, Optimus Prime and Mountain Beauty won from his stable. What was more exciting was the manner in which the first two winners achieved their objectives. First-timer Wrekin was attempting to win a maidens event on debut. The compactly built chesnut colt had given indications of his abilities by doing well in the morning trackwork. Dhariwal's Nickel Chrome and Satish Narredu's Athletic Star were equally fancied by their respective connections. While Burst Of Stardust, Nickel Chrome and Athletic Star showed early speed to lead into the straight, Wrekin was moving steadily towards them. In the hands of a raw apprentice, Open Page was seen trailing the pack. The race took a serious turn thereafter. PS Chouhan roused Nickel Chrome to hit the front, but they were soon joined by Suraj Narredu and Athletic Star. The pair kicked clear of the rest and the result seemed to be restricted to the two of them. In a rare happening, Athletic Star veered out alarmingly near the distance post and dropped his rider. This permitted Nickle Chrome to lead marginally over the others. Open Page moved menacingly towards the inner portion of the track, while John ridden Wrekin came flying on the wide outside. In a narrow finish, Wrekin managed to put his head in front of Nickel Chrome and Open Page at the wire. The two performances that caught the eye in this race were those of Open Page and Athletic Star. Both of them are more than capable of winning their next starts. Suraj was lucky to escape from this accident, and was seen fullfilling the rest of his engagements.
The New Year Cup, a seven furlong terms event for horses four years old and over, was the added attraction on "Oaks" afternoon. Some of the best horses in training at Bangalore had agreed to paticipate in this event. The terms ensured that most of them were evenly matched and the final outcome justified this opinion. On the basis of his consistency, Sprint Star started as an obvious favourite. His two wins this season coupled with the fact that he was running over a favourable trip ensured him a place at the top of the betting boards. Aristos and Immense had fair support in the ring. String Along and Aristos ensured a good pace in this race. Optimus Prime, One Life To Love, Sprint Star and Immense raced well within themselves as the runners turned for home. Sprint Star cruised through the pack to hit the front in the straight. He managed to lead by a length into the final furlong, but wasn't able to go any further. The others were racing in close order and it was apparent that we were in for a close finish. in the hands of Martin Dwyer, Optimus Prime came rushing through the middle and nailed Sprint Star on the post. Immense, One Life To Love and Atlantus finished on their haunches. Just about a length covered the first five finishers. It was a fitting finale to an extremely interesting race.
Arjun's third and last winner was Mountain Beauty. The small made filly had been beaten by a superior Thoughts N Actions on the opening day of the season. After Thoughts N Actions second victory in a higher category, Mountain Beauty's chances got enhanced in today's company. Even though she was installed as the first choice of the bookmakers, she was unable to hold that position. With money flowing in the direction of the Samuel Fargeat ridden Beau Sancy, there was a sudden change of scene. There were many amongst the betting public who felt that Mountain Beauty was too small to carry a heavy impost to victory. They were soon proved wrong by the filly. She literally carried Suraj Narredu to one of the easiest victories of the day. Leading comfortably from the word"go", she proved to be too strong for the heavily whipped Beau Sancy. Brave Cat rallied late to end a faraway third.
This was incidentally Suraj's second winner for the day, as he had already scored a point by guiding Satish Narredu's Young Achiever to a narrow victory. This well bred horse had finished a poor second to a runaway Ultimate Fantasy earlier in the season ,and was recieving weight from some better performed horses. Abby's Baby and Brilliance were amongst the others fancied in this race. Attaolahi's Somerset Rose was running for the first time in her career. The filly showed remarkable speed to lead the pack and was clear of Young Achiever in the straight. The other ten had felt the heat and soon faded out of contention. Somerset Rose maintained her advantage till the last fifty metres, at which stage she was joined by the favourite. The two of them matched strides till they hit the wire. In a bobbing of heads, Young Achiever managed to get the nod from the judge. Somerset Rose can be expected to score in her next start.
Saturday proved to be a wonderful afternoon for the progeny of Burden Of Proof. Four out of the nine races were won by horses sired by him. Apart from Wrekin and Mountain Beauty, there were two horses running in the colours of Dr Mallya that stole the show. Both Casanova and Supremacy responded brilliantly to Anthony Crastus's handling, and won with a measure of comfort. Dhariwal trained Casanova led from the gates and showed the way to Shivalik Prince and Mountain Splendor. PS Chouhan tried his best astride on-money favourite Shivalik Prince, but the chestnut failed to collar Casanova. While Casanova raced as straight as an arrow, Shivalik Prince moved sideways under pressure. Mountain Splendor ended a tame third.
The K Rama Rao Trophy saw the downfall of a heavily supported Kilimanjaro. This five year old had run a good third behind Speed Six and Hill Dioro in an earlier start. With those three year olds running prominently in the Classics, there was little to oppose him in today's set. He was accordingly installed as a firm favourite to lift this trophy. Kilimanjaro disappointed his followers by putting up a pathetic performance. After a slow getaway, Martin Dwyer did little to improve his position. They trailed the pack into the straight, and after weaving their path through a packed field, managed to take the fourth spot. The action in front was restricted to Supremacy and Indravati. Allowing North Cape to lead on sufferance, Anthony waited with Attaolahi's Supremacy. He changed gears in the straight and sailed into an unassailable lead over Indravati and a late finishing Royal Surprise.
The Sharat Kumar stable succeeded in landing a huge gamble with Smile All The Way in an age group sprint for horses in class IV. The five year old , who was steadily brought down to the lowest class, had caused a stunning upset a few weeks ago. In the hands of Md Ghous, she had covered acres of ground from the rear of the field and won near the winning post. Because of the narrow margin of victory, she had escaped with a light penalty. She was obviously prepared thereafter by the trainer for a serious "touch" on Saturday. After getting backed down from 6/1 to 6/4, Smile All The Way ran according to the expectations of her connections. After taking a level start, Rathod tucked her nicely in mid group and waited patiently till the field approached the bend.Star Of Stars and Hamsafar made the early running before retiring from the scene. He brought Smile All The Way with a smooth run on the wide outside and skipped clear of the pack. Bottom-weighted Sun Gold made up much ground from the back to finish a good second ahead of Savvy Concept and Beautiful Dancer.