Presentation Ceremony of The Radha Sigtia Trophy
The Radha Sigtia Trophy looked an interesting proposition even though only five were in the fray. Each runner could win or lose and both possibilities would be good subjects to discuss and debate. However, Lake Paradise was bestowed with the ‘favourite’ tag with a quote of 7/4 against. The rest were at healthy odds with Strategic Change the least fancied at 10/1. Sergeant Pepper took charge right from the start and dictated the pace, which was steady. The Sergeant Led comfortably as the rest followed in single file until into the straight. Lake Paradise followed in second about four lengths away, ahead of Star of Gibraltar, Strategic Change and Titian. That was the order until they straightened up for home.
Sergeant Pepper had a handy lead with 400 meters to go but Lake Paradise was catching up fast. A length away was Strategic Change and both were closing in rapidly on Sergeant Pepper. Past the distance post, Sergeant Pepper was fighting hard to keep his lead, while Lake Paradise was all out, yet he was not able to pass the leader. Meanwhile, Strategic Change started to fire from the outside and he was bullish in the final fifty. He found a lot to add the required speed and just about managed to get past Sergeant Pepper and Lake Paradise. Strategic Change (Alnasr Alwasheek – Risada) was well-ridden by Dashrath Singh and they put in an absolutely resolute effort in beating the more fancied duo in a thrilling finish.
The other trophy race, The RJ Kolha Trophy also proved to be a gripping fight between Brigadier and Razeenaa. Brigadier (Ace – Star Angel) settled into the second behind Scarlet Regent. Scarlet Regent shot ahead to build a huge lead and was about 8 lengths clear of Brigadier past the 800. The massive lead came to a nought as Scarlet Regent went uncontrollably wide, literally scrubbing the outer railing. Brigadier took charge coming into the straight. He was about two-lengths ahead of Razeenaa and Pirateer past the 400. Both Pirateer and Razeenaa went all out in chase of Brigadier who didn’t let his guard down at any stage. Assisted by a determined jockey Zervan, Brigadier put up a brave show and all the hard work paid off as he managed to stave Razeenaa from stealing his thunder. Brigadier prevailed by a narrow margin and earned his maiden victory oh sheer grit and merit. Razeenaa proved a fighter and she will look to shine another day. Pirateer showed glimpses of talent, but would need to hone his skills. This race sure would surely have him return with a few positives and a good education.
Star Goddess (Alnasr Alwasheek – Palazzio) carried on with her blazing form and added another victory to her tally. She was encountering horses from a higher class, but no fiery names were in the line-up. The bookmakers, perhaps encouraged by couple of outsiders helping their cause earlier in the day, increased the price for the on-money favourite and at race time Star Goddess was offered at 11/10, a 30% increase on her ante-post quote. That surely encouraged the punters and Star Goddess attracted a lot of wagering.
She didn’t disappoint at all. She was quick to sail into the lead once they settled down for the 1200 m sprint. Alyana and Phosphor were close behind and then came Dictator, Titleist, Native Lady, Creme De La Creme and Silver Screen all in a heap. The others lagging behind by more than five lengths and none made significant progress.
Star Goddess entered the straight with authority. She had a good clip working and dismissed both Alyana and Phosphor from her vicinity. Dictator was starting to warm up and on his outside, Native Lady too was seen gaining ground. Our Star however, had a momentum going and importantly, had a safe cushion with the winning post in sight. Dictator suddenly picked up momentum as did Native Lady and both mounted a serious challenge at Star Goddess. The cushion certainly came in handy and Star Goddess, though never in danger, won sparing just half a length from Dictator who needs watching during his next. Native Lady too ran a good race finishing a neck behind Dictator. Silver Screen ran widest of all and finished close enough to Native Lady to be noted for her next assignment.
Illuminique (Placerville – Aerogramme) followed up her last start victory with another powerful winning performance. She was quick to settle in the front bunch, close behind the leader Major Wager, along with Floods of Fortune and Kalinga Star.
As they turned for home, Illuminique started to cover ground briskly and soon too charge. While Major Wager and Kalinga Star struggled to match her, Remniscing improved to second. Ibis then came into view and started to bridge a longish gap from the outside. However, Illuminique galloped on gamely to score her second successive victory easily managing to keep Ibis at bay. Remniscing ran a notable third just ahead of Daughter of Destiny.
Lorelei (Emerald Cat – Romantic Pleasure) scored an awesome victory, her first in three starts. After two below par performances over shorter distances, Lorelei showed penchant for the longer trips and went streaking clear on turning for home. She was ridden towards the rear end jockey B Prakash moved with the flow to perch Lorelei on the outside as they began to enter the straight.
Last Tango led them till into the straight and could not find more. Before the others could mount their best effort, Lorelei flew with an electrifying run and bolted past them all, leaving them behind in a flash and the others just couldn’t know what hit them. Lorelei was simply too fast and furious. She outclassed her rivals and looked good for a few more as well.
Mountain Regiment (Black Cash – Calorescence) made it end to end with admirable ease. Akshay took him to the front and Mountain Regiment called his own shots and once into the straight, no one questioned his authority. He bounded forward and marched on ahead to score a facile victory. He won befitting his stature of half money favourite. His performance was fluent and he galloped on to a splendid victory, looking the winner long way from home. Afsoon ended a decent second. An objection for the third place lodged by DK Ashish against CS Jodha who had finished third originally with Unknown Rebel, was upheld and Star Blessings was elevated to the third spot.
Machala (Razeen – Ladybank) finally provided a winning effort in her 14th outing and this one was at the cost of the favourite Hill Ranger and the next in demand McQueen. Towering High led the field all the way into the straight, with Machala, McQueen in close attendance; Hill Ranger and Blue Flash too were close with them. Towering High was soon passed by McQueen who shot into the lead and worked up a sustained pace. Machala began to chase the new leader, while Hill Ranger moved into the third. McQueen was fighting hard to thwart the looming threat coming from Machala and these two seemed heading for a close finish. Hill Ranger, although in contention, could not quicken and failed to make an impact. Machala got past McQueen a couple of strides from the winning post to register her maiden victory with a strong finish.
Divine dropped a bombshell in the day’s opener as he stumped all rivals and experts as well to compile a shock win. Mumbai King was the toast of the punters and was backed to win. He was up in front and looked to break free from the crowd that was dashing to towards the winning post. However, Prince first did not let him pull away and stuck by his side, but both were sent back once Divine burst on the scene. Mountain Lion was there but could only manage a place in the frame.
For the professionals, jockeys B Prakash and Dashrath Singh scored a double each.