Mr.D.Khaitan, Mr. Subir Dasgupta, Mr. Manoj Kumar Bhagat & trainer Vijay Singh leading Abriella (C Alford Up), winner of The Astronomic Trophy
It was an afternoon of edge-of-the-seat drama at the Calcutta racecourse on Thursday as there were as many as five electrifying finishes much to the handicapper’s delight, though one of these was in fact a ‘terms’ race for three-year-olds.
The main event, The Astronomic Trophy, saw the Vijay Singh-trained Abriella opening as the on-money favourite while Daniel David’s Work Force was quoted at 8/1. At such enticing odds, money poured in on the latter and he ultimately closed at 4/1 while Abriella’s odds increased to 12/10. The odds of What A Feeling hovered around the 3/1 mark. The race itself was on expected lines with bottom-weight Aerator setting a good pace, followed by What A Feeling, Work Force and Abriella. Near the mid-way mark, the field bunched but and Work Force moved up on the outside of the pace-setter with Abriella behind him and What A Feeling dropping back to fourth. Work Force and Imran Chisty brought the field into the straight with Abriella (China Visit-Allaire) in hot pursuit. Christopher Alford rode a punishing finish on the latter to gain the day by a neck while What A Feeling ended up a close third. The last named will be worth following after this eye-catching run.
Earlier, Alford had ridden a power-packed finish astride the colt Aletris (Inhabitant-Green Crystal) despite shouldering a top-weight of 62kg, and pocketed the upper division of The Sunbird Handicap. Ridden in check till mid-way up the straight, Vijay Singh-schooled Aletris sailed past front-running favourite Daddy Cool and thereafter staved off a strong challenge from Benjamin while Classical Romance finished a flying third. Both Aletris and Abriella are from the premier stable of Mr Deepak Khaitan.
In two more thrilling finishes, Shailesh Shinde scored a back-to-back double astride Divine Symphony and Stupid Cupid. Though running after a long lay-off, Arti Doctor-trained Divine Symphony (Major Impact-Sunshinar) was piloted flawlessly by Shinde in that he took the shortest route before engaging Born To Race in a stirring duel all the way down the straight.
Shinde took no chances with Shafiq Khan’s Stupid Cupid (Epicentre-On The Trail) and hugged the rails from the outset. Available at 7/2, Stupid Cupid was worth a flutter and the property of Mr Rustom E Daroga did not disappoint. The public choice Coppelia was in hot chase throughout but to no avail.
The afternoon commenced well for followers of money as Jasbir Singh-trained Heer Saleti closed at even money and won the six-furlong sprint by over six lengths. Mohit Singh did not have to exert himself too much astride the daughter of Rebuttal out of Susmitha. The winner was followed home by Mehzabeen.
Trainer Shafiq Khan completed a high-priced double when his Tough One (earlier known as Hiawatha) produced a scintillating gallop in the straight to peg back Incanto Bliss. The colt by Imtiyaz out of Kanthara also helped an elated apprentice Zarar Alam break out of the maiden ranks. After this brilliant display, the chestnut should have more races in store for him.
The gross debacle of the favourite Skyscaper in the Sophiscated Lady Handicap was truly disappointing. Zoffany set a cracking pace and looked headed for victory till a determined Aadesh Kumar on Halo Of Fame (Brave Act-Aylesbury) pegged her back close home.
The curtain came down without fuss as the second in demand Maria Teresa (Captain Rio-Brief Adventure) made every post a winning one in the hands of Parmar. The John Stephens-trained mare was a little too speedy for the favourite Aqualina. Apprentice Mohit Singh did well to occupy the runner-up berth astride Goliath.