Mr. D. Khaitan & Mr. Subir Dasgupta leading Snowscape(C Alford Up), Winner of The Calcutta Million (2011- 12) Grade-II
An action-packed afternoon of racing at Calcutta provided punters and visitors with thrills galore as a fair blend of favourites and high-priced runners kept them on a roller-coaster ride. To add to that was the excitement of the siren to herald an objection against the winner of the Philippines Trophy (Lake Sunrise) by the heavily gambled Goliath, but more about that later.
The afternoon’s feature, The Calcutta Million, was run on expected lines. There were six in the fray for the richest race at this centre for three-year-olds but only one was being backed – and that was the piping hot on-money public choice Snowscape (China Visit-Snow Tiger) from Vijay Singh’s yard. The next in demand was the filly Silverina at 5/1. As the gates opened, the stablemate of the favourite, Accrews, set a good pace with Candid Fury in tow. The favourite, sporting the colours of Mr. Deepak Khaitan, was tucked in along the rails while Trevor Patel on Silverina dropped her out several lengths behind the pack and off the pace. Christopher Alford on the grey made his move first as the field swung into the straight while Silverina displayed quickfire acceleration to be at his tail in a trice. Thereafter it was a two-horse race with the favourite providing C. Alford with his only winning mount of the day.
Schooler Daniel David’s trio of winners were Gentle Jewel (4/1) in the opening race of the day and the high-priced MAM runners – Angelo in the Governor’s Cup and Regal Classic in the Elusive Pimpernel Trophy. Incidentally, the duo had run prominently in the Delhi Race Club Trophy a fortnight back won by Star Symphony. Possibly, the presence of second-rung jockeys Uday Kiran and Vinay Jaiswal, may have fetched them odds of 10/1. Angelo (Razeen-Alix) made the Governor’s Trophy a start-to-finish affair while Regal Classic virtually followed suit. Both Caravaggio and Hall Of Glory did pressurize Angelo to a certain extent in the final furlong but the game six-year-old kicked on under low-weight rider Uday Kiran. As for Regal Classic, Jaiswal used the stick in the straight to ensure that his mount stayed ahead of the favourite Amouresque at all times.
The Philippines Trophy was an eventful affair. The withdrawal of owner-mate Whispering Hills saw Lake Sunrise installed as the ante-post favourite. However, money poured in on Robert Gowli’s Goliath (Don Micheletto-Funny Girl) and the pair were virtually joint 2/1 favourites at the close. Songstress called the early shots but was soon overhauled by Lake Sunrise (Trevor Patel up) with Goliath (M Ali Khan astride) in close touch. At the top of the hairpin, Goliath was initially trying to make his run along the rails and then switched to the outside of Lake Sunrise in the straight. Despite Trevor’s best efforts, the filly drifted out and bumped into Goliath who was at that point of time trying to pass her. Being a small made colt, he was thrown out of his stride. Though Lake Sunrise was the better moving of the two runners in the final 100 metres, the fact that she bumped into her adversary about a furlong from home, swung the pendulum in the latter’s favour. The verdict of a length-and-a-quarter thus did not have any bearing on the decision of the guardians.
Yet another public choice which obliged was Hurricane Star (Hurricane State-Star Illustrious) in the Crystal Man Plate. The speedster allowed Stupid Cupid to dictate terms till the distance post and then pulled away. However, the 7/1 shot Red River Valley came with telling strides opposite the grandstand to cause a certain amount of concern for the backers of Bharath Singh’s runner but Trevor ensured that they got paid.
Two fancied runners which were surprisingly available at enticing odds were Gods Creation and Daddy Cool. Javed Khan-trained Gods Creation (European-Sunlit Moon) was very well prepared and made every post a winning one in the hands of Tograllu to bag the Dashing Chief Handicap. The property of Mr. Ajay Jalan was available at 7/1 and gave no anxious moments to his backers. The disappointment was the poor run of the favourite Andromeda. She was never in it.
As for Daddy Cool (Dark Nile-Everlasting Love), after his eye-catching forward run with Aletris last time out, he was held in check by Shailesh Shinde on this occasion. Heer Saleti was the horse being backed by all and sundry, and despite having incurred a penalty of 9 kg she ran a good race. She took over the running from Thrice Blessed at the top of the straight and seemed to be headed for the winning post when Shinde brought Arti Doctor’s ward with telling strides along the rails but found his passage blocked. He then switched him out and the colt devoured ground to pull off a spectacular triumph for owners Mrs Menaka Gupta and Mr Rakesh Sahani. Exxin ran on powerfully to snatch the runner-up berth from the favourite while much touted Flightning appeared to be short of gas and drifted out as she is wont to do.