Mr.D. Khaitan & trainer Vijay Singh leading Dandified ( C Alford ) Winner of The Indian Champion Cup Gr-I
A warm, vibrant afternoon at the Calcutta racecourse witnessed a largely partisan crowd egging on the 60 paise public choice Dandified to a glorious victory in the Indian Champion Cup on Monday. The son of Rebuttal out of Dandoona was whipped out of sight by In The Spotlight barely eight days earlier in the Calcutta Derby. For the four-year-old to recover his breath and make a smashing comeback in so short a time was truly remarkable and speaks well of his schooler Vijay Singh. Though the skeptics will no doubt cast aspersions on the quality of his rivals, it was nevertheless a Grade I affair – the highly prestigious Indian Champion Cup. Very rarely does a four-year-old win this event, though MAM’s Rasalas had the privilege of dead-heating with hat-trick ‘Champion’ Aperitivo in the year 2006.
The mile and quarter trip appeared to suit the colt with quickfire acceleration to the hilt. Dandified was given a dream ride by Christopher Alford who held him in check till the turning for home where Cielo Rey was calling the shots with Unleashed on his outside. Once Dandified saw daylight, it was all over bar the shouting. Proud owner Mr Deepak Khaitan confirmed that the colt’s next target will either be “The Invitation Cup or Super Mile” in the first week of March in Bangalore. It’s my bet that it will be the former after this swashbuckling show. This enigmatic colt has it in him to delve into his reserves and find that extra bit of stamina to negotiate the mile-and-half trip. He will also have the added advantage of getting himself accustomed to Bangalore’s uphill backstretch before the Indian Derby runners make their way to the garden city.
Trainer Vijay Singh enjoyed a good day at office as he led in two other cleverly placed winners at lucrative odds. The 2000 metres race for the Star Contender Handicap saw apprentice Ajoy Roy making every post a winning one astride the maiden filly Adiynara – a full sister to Ice Mint and Record Breaker (Placerville-Shalaya). Two races later, Adelric (China Visit-Exquisite), a half-brother to Indian Oaks winner Smashing, quite easily accounted for the on-money favourite Haddock. Christopher Alford took his mount to the helm of affairs as the gates opened for the six-furlong sprint and stayed there all the way.
Fashionably bred filly Apple Candy (China Visit-Deserving Lady) left her unruly gate manners at her stables and jumped out of the stalls nicely to hand a well-deserved victory to Arti Doctor and Shailesh Shinde. The other runners were simply outclassed.
Habbu-trained King Arthur ( Imtiyaz-Highland Ghillie) quite easily pegged back the top-weight Beethoven in the four-horse race for the Calorescence Handicap.
Jockey Imran Chisty rode a power-packed finish to bag the PP Ginwala Jr Memorial Trophy while astride Ashwa Prajot (Tirol-Hearts In Motion). Mistral was in chase of him all the way and the verdict would have been reversed had not Chisty extracted the extra pound of flesh from his ride.
Much in the news Anthony Crastus aptly brought the curtain down with a thrilling ride on the favourite Crown Rule (Burden Of Proof-Crown Treasure) to bag The Republic Trophy. Though better placed at weights, Sokudo had no answer to Crown Rule’s superb finish and succumbed by three-parts of a length.