Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla & Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Icebreaker (David Allan Up), winner of The Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Eclipse Stakes of India (Gr.2)
Icebreaker (Alnasr Alwasheek – Iceberg), owned by the Poonawallas and trained by Padmanabhan, came into her own to win the Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Eclipse Stakes of India (GR 2) in splendid fashion. Sitting a close fourth almost all through the first half of the race, Icebreaker improved to third behind Phenomenale and Mr Greedy coming into the straight. Onassis, who was slowly off trailed all the way and made no significant impact on the race. Icebreaker gained on the leaders Phenomenale and Mr Greedy with every stride and was on her own in the final furlong. Icebreaker surged forward easily without encountering any resistance and sailed away without even being fully pressed. Mr Greedy did his best to end runner up while Phenomenale looked a patch of what she was during her Pune Derby days. Onassis deserves another chance but more importantly deserves rest from racing for a while. Icebreaker trounced her rivals in the true sense of the word.
Forest Flair (Placerville – Tide of Fortune) once again displayed good fighting qualities to thwart the challenge of Sea Ruler who may have found the sprint too sharp for his liking. The finish was befitting a high profile race such as the Dr SC Jain Sprint Championship (GR 2). Ekhabinskya led them early with Portrush in close attendance, Sea Ruler galloped along the rails while Forest Flair was up next on the outside. Portrush easily sailed past Ekhabinskya in the straight but soon encountered a dual challenge coming from Sea Ruler and Forest Flair. The trio passed the distance post together and the final furlong saw a keen tussle for supremacy. Forest Flair got stronger at the finish to pull off a hard fought victory closer home. Sea Ruler ran a worthy second and Portrush impressed while taking the third spot alongside the top two. Forest Flair enhanced his image as a champion sprinter and is well in the reckoning for the Sprinters’ Cup during the Invitational weekend early March.
Trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a fancied double, scoring in the day’s first and the last races. Bluebird (Aljabr – Barqaa) made ample amends for his earlier let downs and scraped home in a keen tussle with favourite Royal Companion. Sitting last of five, Bluebird was well off the pace set by Tequila. Royal Companion chased the leader until the turn. Bluebird made rapid progress taking the turn and was third entering the straight. Royal Companion did seem as if travelling better than Bluebird early in the straight. Even with 200 to go, Royal Companion was ahead and galloping. Bluebird gained on the favourite in the last 100 metres and surged past a stride or two before the winning post.
Batista (Glory of Dancer – Kilshannig) registered his second victory this season with a sensational burst in the last furlong to overwhelm Ocean Wish who tried to make it from the start. Chasing Ocean Wish all the way into the straight, Batista, who never let Ocean Wish get too far, pounced on the leader with a terrific run to snatch a narrow one length victory. Star of Roses disappointed and was never in the hunt. Awesomeness woke up late to pip Constantina for the third.
The day was marked by the Clash of the Titans with an interesting competition between the foreign jockeys dubbed “Warriors” against the Indian “Veers”. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th races were designated for the competition. With each jockey compiling points in relation to the position he finished, (points were earned up to the sixth place in each of the said races), the team aggregating the highest points got the winners trophy. The jockey of the day was decided by the highest aggregate tallied by the individual jockey. While the ‘Warriors’ won 114 – 91, the Indian boys had a lot to cheer about when B Prakash won the last leg atop Visionaire (Razeen – Surrender), bringing his tally to 48, five ahead of nearest rival NG McCullagh. The Indian jockeys in the jockey room gave a roaring applause as Prakash whizzed past Vacheron to land the spoils in the Div I of the Privilege Breweries Cup. He received a noisy reception when he entered the jockey room after weighing in. Prakash received the “Silver Whip” as the Champion of the day. Both the jockeys’ teams lined up for the presentation and the crowd was vocal in their cheer to the both teams.
Jockey NG McCullagh, leading his team from the front sent the Warriors to a flying start with a smashing victory astride the lesser fancied Sun Elegance for the HDIL Cup. Chasing the leader Last Tango, Sun Elegance (Alnasr Alwasheek – Maevella) surged ahead early in the straight, and kicked on regardless of who was coming from behind. No one did, and Sun Elegance won untroubled. Xisca improved in the straight to grab the runner up berth ahead of favourite Dignity Amplified who failed to impress.
McCullagh added to his score with yet another victory atop Solar Angel (Senure – Sun Worship) in the Div II of the Privilege Breweries Cup. This was a well earned victory, as River Rule was always breathing down her neck. Sea Diamond escorted the field homeward and bowed out. Soon Solar Angel grabbed the initiative but was challenged by River Rule who even headed her momentarily. Splendid Secret looked to offer a fight but could not sustain for long. In the final furlong Solar Angel was battling River Rule and Splendid Secret was making no headway. The duo matched strides but Solar Angel got stronger at the finish to win sparing a little over a length.
Demonstrator (Alnasr Alwasheek – Star Concert) provided a scintillating finish to win The Elle Cup, the added attraction of the day. B Prakash was in his elements driving home the MK Jadhav trainee covering a longish gap in the latter half of the homestretch. Blumarine had stepped up pace right from the outset and Lakhadema was the only one close behind. The rest were a good five lengths or more as the hit the final 400 board. Lakhadema looked good as she went past Blumarine and with the rest still not within range it seemed difficult to sight a threat. However, Demonstrator, IL Tabarro and Illuminate came along like a pack of wolves and hounded Lakhadema who wilted under pressure. Demonstrator held a thin advantage in the final 100 and IL Tabarro was gaining ground too. Jockey B Prakash with some forceful riding managed to stave off IL Tabarro whose rider Mick Fenton reported loss of whip and the late finishing Illuminate to score a narrow victory, his first of three in the day.
Sea Star (Maria’s Mon – Chanteline) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a resurgent run in the final 100 metres after surrendering the lead to Attila midway up the straight. Arabian Pride led them into the straight and soon Sea Star poked through the inner rails to move ahead. Attila suddenly burst on the scene to sail past Sea Star and move ahead by nearly half a length. Sea Star, with David Allan in saddle, refused to be intimidated and never let Attila off the hook. The duo battle hard and in the end, Sea Star produced that little extra which is so crucial between winning and losing. Sea Star was the hot favourite and his backers screamed in delight as he surfaced again at the precise juncture to win the Kulraj Broadway Cup in breathtaking fashion.
Jockey B Prakash was the hero of the day scoring a fine treble and with it winning the Silver Whip, while NG McCullagh, David Allan scored a double each to help their team win the Clash of the Titans. Trainers Pesi Shroff and Cooji Katrak too saddled a brace each.