Trainer P Shroff leading Bespoke (Neeraj Rawal Up), winner of The Haunting Memories Plate
Bespoke (Ikhtyar – Sartorial) seems to have made winning a habit and the connections aren’t complaining at all. The Shroff-trained mare has left a trail of success and by beating Dancing Glances, she recorded her fifth successive victory from six start.
This one was not easy though and Bespoke had to fight hard and earn her victory. Entering the straight, Star Warrior squandered his lead as Dancing Glances easily got past him midway in the straight. Bespoke was not too far behind and joined Dancing Glances no sooner he had shaken off Star Warrior. Through the final furlong, they fought hard and it looked like Bespoke would gallop away once she headed Dancing Glances. But Dancing Glances came back again and nearly shocked the winner, stretching Bespoke all the way to the wire. Bespoke finally prevailed by a short-head. Check Her Out did well to peg back Star Warrior to finish in the money.
Malesh Narredu trained first-time runner Borak (Senure – Lannkala) owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, made a bold debut scoring a stylish come-from-behind victory in a thrilling, five-furlong scurry to clinch the Santorini Star Trophy convincingly. Edwina, another debutante, attempted to run away with the race in a start-to-finish bid, and although Borak got the better of her, Edwina did well to ward off Angels Quest for the runner-up berth.
It was Borak all the way though, especially in the final furlong. Borak was one among the front-pack though not too prominent initially. Edwina turned for home with a handy lead and soon Angles Quest started to put up her challenge. Bourbon Street was right behind with Rewarding working hard to stay in contention, but not making any headway. Jockey Daniel Grant made his move from the wider outside and alerted Borak approaching the distance post. A couple of backhanders were all Borak needed as he produced a steamy run in the final dash to the wire. Borak surged past Edwina and Angels Quest to romp home for an aggressive victory.
Irish jockey Richard Hughes drew a blank for the second consecutive race day failing to win a single race in his last 11 mounts. By Richard standards, this is alarming. On the day, Richard rode out six runners, three of them firm favorites and not one of them turned in a winning performance. The biggest casualty was Star Empire a 10 to 7 on public rage.
Star Empire was the shortest priced runner of the day. He garnered strong support after he emerged from a traffic jam and ran Bespoke close, finishing third behind Bespoke and Silver screen in a neck-neck finish. With bespoke winning in the higher class a race earlier, Star Empire on that line, was touted a cinch.
What followed was horrific to the followers of money. Star Empire yet again got caught in heavy traffic and by the time Richard switched him out for a clear run, Fast Forward had snatched the advantage and jockey Dashrath Singh rode him out to a thrilling victory.
As the heads turned for home, Beyond Compare and Running Sun were ahead and they were followed by Living The Dream. Just behind was Star Empire with Forward Charge looking to live up to his name.
Running Sun quickly got past the tiring Beyond Compare and soon Forward charge and Star Empire got going. Forward Charge gathered momentum and in a flash got alongside Running Sun. Star Empire was stuck behind this pair and Richard had to switch out to get a clear passage. Ariane, at this stage began to show some paces and came into view.
In the final furlong, Forward Charge was kicking on playing catch me if you can and keeping a steady pace going. Star Empire had some running to do and he accelerated closing the gap with Arian also looking interested. At the wire, Forward Charge held on by half a length from Star Empire, earning a well deserved victory after a prolong wait.
Star Empire had to eat humble pie and settle for the runner-up berth just ahead of Ariane who didn’t do too badly to end a notable third. Running Sun too had a good outing finishing in the frame and not too far away. Dictator galloped when all was over and beat the rest to finish on the haunches of Running Sun.
Red Passion (Royal Gladiator – Shadow Dancing) put in a sustained finishing effort under a forceful Kavraj Singh to post a victory to shock favourite Ocean Tern. This was a splendid effort from young kavraj Singh as he worked on Red Passion soon on turning for home. Matilda did all the early running and entered the straight with a handy two-length advantage over Smooth operator. Matilda looked good only until the distance post which is when Smooth Operator, Red Passion and Ocean Tern began to close-in on her. Red Passion took charge coming into the final furlong from Smooth Operator and at the same juncture Richard made his move astride Ocean Tern coming one off th4e fence. He sliced through Matilda and Smooth Operator and gave it all. In a scintillating finish, however, Red Passion just managed to edge out Ocean Tern by the shortest of margins.
Trainer Magan Singh Jodha combined with stable jockey CS Jodha to pull off a lucrative double, with Glowing Mist and Aslan.
Glowing Mist (Hymn – Maid of the Mist) won a real thriller in a three-way finish. Sacred Relic shot into the lead once the field settled down and had Kaskazi in close attendance. This Is It was slow at the gates and took no serious part in the race. Sacred Relic led them into the straight and then fell back. Kaskazi took charge and was going well. He led comfortably coming into the final furlong and looked well in charge. Free For All progressed a bit from the inner rails but Kaskazi always looked safe from his threat.
Glowing Mist warmed up nicely late in the straight and produced a brilliant finishing effort that saw her lunge forward to nose the wire just in time before the late blitz from Money For Nothing could make an impact. Money For Nothing came from a long way back with a sizzling gallop, but just failed to pip Glowing Miss. Kaskazi was unfortunate not to have capitalized on the upper hand he enjoyed until the final moments.
Aslan (Mr Mellon – Star Pride) created a flutter in the last race of the day when he accounted for two fancied runners – Saifeena and Star Builder. Celestial Call also had his share of supporters and the betting trends revolved around this trio.
Rose Heaven took upon herself to make the pace for the mile trip and shot ahead opening up a huge lead. Aslan settled in the fourth position behind Evelyn and Blue Knight. Saifeena and Star builder raced in the mid-bunch. Rose heaven squandered away the appreciable lead once they turned for home as Blue Knight shot ahead to lead briefly. Aslan grew stronger and as he got past Blue Knight, he began to drift out considerably. Saifeena soon joined to make a fight of it and Star builder too, by then and progressed to be in the fighting line. Although Aslan kept drifting out, he never lost momentum and this held him in good stead in the end.
Saifeena yet again, had to be content with the second slot. Star Builder looked good at a point but the weight seemed to have smothered him down. He did well to finish third though and managed to stay ahead of Celestial Call who came in far too late. Blue Knight also showed some improvement, but indicated that a furlong short would suit him better.
Lord of Killarney faltered badly in the last few strides after establishing a runaway lead and holding on until the final few strides. He led by more than 4 lengths coming into the final furlong of the five-furlong opening race of the day. Small Treasure (Alnasr Alwasheek – Treasured) who was in second, warmed up nicely past the distance post and set about chasing down the leader. He got forceful in the final finish and Lord of Killarney’s weak last few strides helped. Fantastic too made a powerful dash to the wire, but fell short by just a head. It was indeed a blanket finish with all seven contenders ending up in a bunch with just about 41/2 lengths between the winner and the last placed horse.