Trainer Neil Darashah leading Native Talent (P S Chouhan Up), winner of The Delhi Race Club Trophy
Neil Darashah's six year old Native Talent dug deep into his reserves of stamina while making a successful debut in the highest class at Bangalore. In a finish that saw the first five horses ending within a length of each other, Native Talent managed to walk away with the honours in The Delhi Race Club Trophy, the feature in a long card of nine events framed for Friday's racing action at this centre. Only seven runners had accepted to run in a mile and a quarter handicap for horses rated 80 and above. There were two amongst them that had "just arrived" in this category. Elite Land had been given a whopping penalty of 29 points after he had finished a close third behind Sun Absolute and Arabian Prince in a terms race a few weeks ago. On the other hand, Native Talent had qualified to run in this group after his victory in a mile handicap for horses in class II. It was felt that Elite Land had only to reproduce his previous run to win amongst the present group of horses. Elite Land and Crown Empress shared favouritism ahead of Native Talent and the others.
The seven runners took a level start and leapt out of the starting gates. Red Renegade set the pace ahead of Elite Land, Crown Empress and Spark Of Gold. Native Talent ambled along in fifth place and he had only two behind him, and those were Six Gun Smith and Firezone. The order remained more or less the same till they started taking the rising ground near the three furlong marker. With Red Renegade running out of steam near the home turn, there was suddenly a new leader. Elite Land headed the closely bunched up group at this stage. Chris Hayes gave him a couple of cracks and asked him to "go", but was definitely disappointed with the response he got from his mount. Elite land caved-in under pressure and surrendered the lead to Spark Of Gold. It was exactly at this juncture that Native Talent arrived on the scene. Aided by his light impost and some hard riding from PS Chouhan, Native Talent stormed home to an exciting victory. Spark Of Gold, Crown Empress, Six Gun Smith and Elite Land finished within sniffing distance of each other.
Chouhan had two other winners during the day. Both of them were backed to the exclusion of their rivals and scored with a measure of comfort. Three year old Sweet Success scored in maiden company. Puttanna's ward had served notice of an early victory by playing the role of the bridesmaid in her previous start. The chestnut filly showed early speed to be prominent for most of the way. She dominated the proceedings in the straight and staved-off a determined challenge from Motivating and Union Jack. Motivating was the most impressive runner in this race. Despite looking gross in the parade ring, the well-bred filly put up a remarkable performance. She will be too-good-to-miss in her next start.
Last outing winner Wild Nexus was slammed off the boards in a sprint for horses aged five years old and over in class III. The free striding grey had won despite a long lay-off from racing and was sure to improve after that experience. He performed on expected lines and justified the support that he had received in the betting rings. Chasing Kripa till the two furlong pole, Chouhan brought Wild Nexus into contention. While Kripa was being hustled, Wild Nexus was still on tight reins. Chouhan pushed him in the final furlong and won by a length and a half from Kripa. John chose to raise an objection against the winner, but it was a frivolous one. The Stewards took hardly any time to over-rule the same.
Trainer Sharat Kumar enjoyed some of the finest moments of his professional life on Friday. Four winners on a single afternoon of racing in a trainer's career is extremely rare, and that is exactly what he achieved today. All four winner’s received support in the betting rings, and the connections were delighted with the final outcome. It started with a win for Super Saloni in a scurry for horses in the lowest category. An accident at the gates involving Biscotti, resulted in the favourite being withdrawn from this contest. Making use of his innermost draw, John pushed Super Saloni into an early lead. The filly gained further momentum and was clear of the chasing pack. A mere nudge from the rider was all that was required to keep her going. She crossed the winning post many lengths ahead of Heart Of Gold and Javanica.
John and Sharat combined once again to win The AVR Char Memorial Cup with Southern King. This last outing winner had received a stiff penalty for an earlier effort, and he happened to be the third favourite behind Young Achiever and Top Secret. In his usual lethargic manner, Southern King was lazy at the start. He trailed a group of speedy runners and was in a hopeless position at the top of the bend. At almost the same juncture, Suraj Narredu had taken Young Achiever to the front and the pair looked almost certain of lifting this trophy. Responding gamely to John's urgings, Southern King started to move strongly on the wide outside. It became apparent that we were in for a close finish, and that is exactly what happened. Southern King did well to nail Young Achiever near the final post. Migrolino ended a fair third, while Top Secret ran poorly to finish fourth.
Jockey HG Rathod was the other rider to score a double for Sharat's stable. In the hands of Mallikarjun, Little Lion had carried the top weight and run a forward race a couple of weeks ago. The trainer lightened his burden by running him in a higher class and entrusted him to Rathod. The boy rode a neat race while steering Little Lion to an easy victory over Youre Chilubuli and Biutiful. Rathod had a tough time settling his mount in the initial stages of the race. With early leader Shourya getting tired near the bend, Rathod had no option but to let him "go". Little Lion bounded forward and sealed one of the easiest victories of the day. The winner looks capable of repeating on promotion.
The concluding race of Friday witnessed a rare happening on the local track, when Sharat trained Silver Sceptre scored his fourth straight victory of this season. HG Rathod was an equal partner in this achievement, as he had partnered the five year old gelding on all four occasions. This well-bred horse was discarded by his earlier owners and was acquired by Sharat only a few months ago. One must give him credit for doing what he has done with this horse. Silver Sceptre settled nicely behind Star Of Desire and waited a long while before making his move. Public favourite Mark Of Genius raced alongside as they turned for home. The two of them emerged from the pack and charged towards the finishing line. Silver Sceptre managed to eke out a narrow lead over Mark Of Genius near the distance post, and retained it till they hit the wire. A tired Star Of Desire was able to hold onto his third spot.
Attaollahi trained Cafe Del Monte obliged as the shortest priced favourite of the afternoon. The grey colt had suffered a hampered passage in an earlier start when he had finished a close third behind Lady Gaga and Violent Storm over a trip of seven furlongs. Travelling the same distance today, Anthony Crastus took him to the front within fifty metres of the start, and stayed there till the very end. A six length lead over Unique Show at the bend helped his cause. Gun Salute made a determined bid from the back to finish a close second. Even though he was ridden by a whip less apprentice, Gun Salute covered a lot of ground in the straight. Blue Star got up in time to beat Unique Show into fourth place.
The Ganapathy stable clocked another point when Gold Venture scored a sensational victory in the penultimate race of the day. The market leader was many lengths behind the leading group, as the eleven runners turned for home. Since those in front were closely packed, jockey Sreekanth was forced to make his bid on the wide outside. Vaideeshwaran ridden Will Still had assumed a strong hold on this race as they entered the final furlong. His owner mate Rise To Glory moved menacingly through the middle while Gold Venture gained ground on the pair of them. In a pulsating finish, Gold Venture got up on the last stride to win in a three-way photo from Rise To Glory and Will Still.