Mr. Vikram Singh, Mr. Nirmal Singh & trainer Irfan Ghatala leading Toroloco (P S Chouhan Up), winner of The Bangalore Derby (Grade I)
For the second year in succession, a runner from the Irfan Ghatala stable managed to win the Winter Derby at Bangalore. The strongly-built Toroloco (Rebuttal-Miss Beautiful) confounded most "pundits" by lifting this trophy on Friday. To those who felt that the progeny of Rebuttal do not "stay", he proved that it is dangerous to jump to hasty conclusions. Toroloco handled the mile and a half with maturity, and it was his brilliant turn-of-foot in the final furlong that sealed an easy victory. In the absence of multi-classic winner Southern Bay, it was difficult to pick a winner in this year's Derby. Apart from a couple of fillies that had taken part in the Oaks at Bangalore and Hyderabad, the others were yet to be tested over a longer trip. On the basis of his second behind Field Marshal, Maddox was accorded the pride of place as the first favourite in this Classic. Having won the Oaks at Malakpet, Forever Glory was the other fancied runner in this race. Irfan Ghatala had chosen to run a pair of inexperienced but unbeaten horses in this race. Both Toroloco and Zultanite had run only twice in their careers, and neither had raced beyond 1400 metres. With an extra kilometre to travel, it was difficult to envisage how they would perform today. Zultanite's fine acceleration in the final stages of a race, saw him climbing the betting charts, while Toroloco was freely available at 10's in the betting ring. Toroloco's tendency to make all the running in a race was expected to lead to his undoing. Since he was a strong and powerful specimen, it was felt that it would be difficult for the jockey to hold him back in a slow run race.
The race was definitely run at a slow pace, but PS Chouhan had little problems in settling Toroloco at the back. Gold Venture took them along at a steady pace ahead of Maddox, I Specialist, Absolut Grey and Forever Glory. Toroloco was tucked-in along the rails in sixth, while the others were closely huddled, as the tightly packed field made its way towards the home turn. After a bit of manoeuvring at the bend, we had a clear leader in Maddox. Srinath brought him the shortest way home and asked him to quicken. Finding nothing in the tank, Maddox shortened his strides along the inner rails and faded from the scene. Just as Forever Glory emerged from the pack and moved under the stick, there was much action towards the outer portion of the track. Toroloco and Golden Rule made their moves at the same juncture. With a well-timed run, Toroloco skirted the field and assumed command of the situation. Responding gallantly to Chouhan's whipping, Toroloco got stronger and stronger. He won by a widening margin from a late finishing Nearness Of You, Golden Rule and a tired Forever Glory. The placed runners finished in a heap and only a neck separated the three of them. While it is accepted that it was a slow run race, one has to give full marks to the winner. It is possible that the connections of Toroloco were unsure of his staying abilities, and therefore, they had chosen to ask the jockey to ride him in check. Now that they have realized his potential, it is quite possible that he will be ridden differently in The Invitation Cup in March. A patient and understanding ride from David Allan enabled Nearness Of You to take the second prize.
Toroloco gave Irfan his second winner of the afternoon, as Hill Dioro had already scored a point for his stable. After getting left at the gates in The Bangalore 2000 Guineas, Hill Dioro had been given some practice. Running over seven furlongs in The Indian Republic Trophy, the colt started as the shortest favourite of the day. To the dismay of those who like to back extremely short-priced horses, Hill Dioro was slow at the gates. He trailed the seven horse field for most of the way. Moves Goodenough led from the start and with Chris Hayes making free use of his whalebone, the mare enjoyed a healthy advantage near the bend. It was at this stage that Suraj made his move. He brought Hill Dioro through the shortest way and essayed his challenge. The chestnut gained momentum, made up ground on the leader and sped past her for a comfortable victory. Royal Surprise lost all her chances by losing a distance at the start, while Ace Blood suffered from a burst blood vessel.
Ganapathy's String Along re-discovered her old form to stun a top class field in The Mysore Race Club Trophy. This richly endowed terms event, to be run over a mile, attracted some of the best talent stationed at this centre. Many amongst them had clashed earlier this month. Immense and One Life To Love had finished way ahead of String Along on that day. Since Immense was the fastest finishing horse in that race, and also because the terms were identical today, he received good support from the punters. With Spearhead, Red Renegade and String Along showing early speed, john was content to keep Immense behind the three of them. Midtown Magic and One Life To Love travelled comfortably till they reached the home bend. It was at this stage that Chris Hayes displayed his presence of mind. He took String Along to the front and pushed her vigorously. The five year old responded brilliantly and opened up a nice looking lead over Spearhead and Immense. This advantage helped her at the time of crossing the wire. She lasted out to win by a shortening margin from Immense and Spearhead. Despite showing little interest in the proceedings, One Life To Love ended a close fifth.
Jockey Martin Dwyer had it relatively easy while scoring a couple of points this afternoon. It started with Padmanabhan's three year old Borsalino. This well-built colt had left a fine impression while running a good second to Southern Opinion on debut. The fact that the winner had carried the statuary winning penalty to another victory, enhanced Borsalino's chances today. The present trip of seven furlongs was expected to suit him perfectly. Martin tried holding Borsalino behind Sandstorm and Starstruck, but the moment he saw them increasing their lead near the top of the bend, he made his move. It took a while for the colt to find his rhythm, but once that happened, the race was over. Borsalino came with raking strides to go past Sandstorm and a late finishing Clever Trick. The winner showed that he loves it longer, and this augurs well for the future.
The other victory came astride Arjun Mangalorkar's Flying Snow. Despite losing a couple of times as a three year old in maiden company, the filly had shown that she was a good type. She confirmed that opinion by posting one of the easiest victories of the afternoon. Favourite Somerset Rose chased Sutton Prince till the two furlong marker before getting tired. She subsequently retired from the fray to finish off the board. Just as Sutton Prince and Bryant Park emerged clear of the rest, Flying Snow joined the fray. She came smoothly between the two leaders and sailed away from them. It was a totally transformed Flying Snow today. Unlike earlier times, she did not get tired in the straight. In fact, her splendid acceleration in the latter stages of the race earned her a well-deserved victory. Martin Dwyer rode a near perfect race on this winner.
Nityanand trained Rapaddan Glory was lucky to win on Friday. She was second favourite behind Amit Caddy's Ibelieveinmiracles. An error of judgement on the part of Suraj Narredu, as well as some serious traffic problems cost Ibelieveinmiracles a certain race. Suraj took a smart jump with the odds-on choice and raced him on the rails behind Artic Breeze and Shades Of Scarlet. While Apollo King, Thejaguar and Rapaddan Glory moved steadily around the bend, Suraj continued to wait for an opening towards the inner portion of the track. With a tired Artic Breeze leaning onto the rails, the opening failed to materialize. In order to avert an accident, Ibelieveinmiracles had to be checked immediately. By the time he could regain his rhythm, Rapaddan Glory had skipped clear of Thejaguar. The favourite devoured ground thereafter to end a flying second. This was the second successive time this season that Ibelieveinmiracles lost a certain race due to poor assistance from the saddle.
The two divisions of The Vidhana Soudha Cup, a seven furlong handicap for horses five years old and over in class III, were won by front-running horses. In an open betting affair, the upper division was annexed by Faraz Arshad's Smart Exotic. Samuel Fargeat eased him into an early lead ahead of Chronicle, and once the latter got tired near the bend, it was relatively easy for the leader. Making free use of his whip, the Frenchman drove him to finish ahead of Fist Of Rage, Kripa and Sun Dancing. Favourite Indravati ran a poor race to finish off the board. Apprentice Kiran Rai was unable to recover from an extreme draw, and was totally at sea while guiding this runner.
On the other hand, Neil Darashah's Thrillseeker was ably handled by apprentice Prabhakaran. Allowing Mystere to lead on sufferance, he managed to restrain Thrillseeker in the early stages of the lower division of this race. The grip was relaxed near the bend. Thrillseeker darted forward, overtook Mark Of Genius and spurted towards the winning post. Top-weighted Sunset Grill made up much ground in the final furlong to topple Mark Of Genius from the runner-up berth. Puttanna trained Amazer took down a lot of money by finishing in the ruck. It was difficult to explain the one-sided support that he received in the betting ring. Even though he was running for the first time after Bangalore Summer, and was yet to win a race in over a year, Amazer enjoyed the confidence of the punters.