Trainer Sharat Kumar leading What A Friend (Irvan Singh Up), winner of The Narasimharaja Cup
Sharat Kumar trained What A Friend (Placerville-Scarlet Lake) scored a surprise victory in the Narasimharaja Cup, a seven furlongs event for horses rated 80 and above. Sovetskaya, aiming for her fourth straight victory, was the firm favourite in the race, with Tomsk and Accurate having their share of supporters.
Apprentice Irvan Singh had the 7 year old in front from the start and kept the lead till the finish. Firezone started to bridge the lead inside the last 100 metres but failed in his attempt and finished second half a length behind. Sovetskaya was third another half a length adrift. Sovetskaya raced towards the rear, till approaching the final bend and jockey Stephane Pasquier had difficulty in tackling the traffic as they made their way for the final run. Pasquier finally managed to wriggle out of the mess and Sovetskaya moved fast, covering a lot of ground but What a Friend and Firezone had by then crossed the winning post.
Jockey S.John was the most successful professional on the day, booting home three winners, while Suraj Narredu and trainer Sharat Kumar scored a double each. John rode Arjun Mangalorkar schooled The Situation (Sunday Doubt-Allocate) to a popular victory, in the higher division of the Gumbaz Trophy. Abracadabra was in the lead, closely tracked by Scenic Blast, as the field entered the home stretch. The Situation was asked for an effort by John inside the final furlong and the 4 year old quickened readily to scuttle ahead and win the race. Abracadabra and Scenic Blast finished second and third respectively. Emphatic Victory was withdrawn on veterinary grounds.
John was successful in the lower division as well, riding Prasanna Kumar trained Will Still (Hurricane State-Game Plan) to a pillar to post victory. Indian Pride who was a bit lazy in the initial stages of the race, improved quickly to run behind the leader as they passed the 800 m board. John was the first to go for the stick on the straight and kept his mount going to thwart the challenge of Indian Pride towards the closing stages. Will Still held on by a slender margin from Indian Pride at the wire.
John got his first win of the day through Sharat Kumar’s Gorgeous Gold (Black Cash-Christy’s Affair), in the higher division of the Round Table Cup. Gorgeous Gold was backed to the exclusion of the other runners in the race. Southern Pearl and Mountain Train cut the wind in front while Gorgeous Gold was a handy third, not far behind. As the race got to a boil, John went for the rails run with the two in front but was swift in changing course to the outside, when he found the gap narrowing down. Gorgeous Gold accelerated with a brilliant turn of foot, to storm ahead and win from Mountain Train and Southern Pearl.
Magnetic Power (Itaquere Power-Magnetic) was ridden to a maiden victory by Suraj Narredu in the lower division. The 4 year old gelding from the stables of Narayan Gowda had remained a maiden after ten runs. Making his appearance in the lower class for the first time, Magnetic Power only had Little Lion to be shaken off while the rest were no opposition at any stage. The two broke away from the rest and raced together till the last 50 metres from where Magnetic Power with stronger handling surged clear.
It was a back to back double for Suraj Narredu, having won the opening race of the day, the lower division of the February Plate on Irfan Ghatala schooled Ice Stone (Steinbeck-Glorieuse). After a lethargic beginning, Ice Stone made headway gradually to get to third position behind Volcano and Truman, by the time the runners approached the final turn. Truman was the first to take the initiative on the straight and moved ahead by about two lengths. Ice Stone was urged to raise a gallop and she started to run green, going all over the track. Suraj had to arrest the wayward running of the filly and with a final heave got her nose in front of Truman at the wire. Loyal King and Showin’ Off were withdrawn before the race.
S.Narredu trained Speedy Girl (Rebuttal-Cap Of Dimonty) sprinted away with the higher division with P.S.Chouhan astride. Showing plenty of speed at start, Speedy Girl headed straight to lead the field and was a clear two lengths ahead of the nearest rival on top of the straight. Wind Stream raised a faint hope inside the last 100 metres but the race was by then in the safe keeping of Speedy Girl.
Aztec Gold (Brave Act-Cup Of Gold) caused a flutter while pulling off a win in the Dashmesh Stud Plate. Running at the tail end of the field till the top of the straight, Aztec Gold galloped widest of all and swept past the entire field to score a stunning upset. The favourite Sun Storm beat the rest to finish second.
S.Inayatulla’s Sun Gold (Sizzling Melody-Gil Vermet) travelled the better when he got to a fight with War Artist, in the concluding race of the day. Red Shift and Hamsafar filled the frame while Another Voice failed to live up to the strong favouritism and finished a tame fifth.