Trainer S Narredu leading Accurate (Saddam Hussain Up), winner of The Kanteerava Cup
Satish Narredu's Accurate ran his opponents off their feet while annexing The Kanteevara Cup at the Bangalore races on Saturday. Carrying the lowest weight in a group of ten acceptors, he made every post a winning one. There were a number of notable performances during the afternoon. A superb treble from the Narredu stable, and another double by the in-form PS Chouhan, stood tall amongst some mediocre efforts. On a day when the first seven races witnessed the eclipse of public favourites, jockey Imran Chisty had to be content with the second spot on all his five mounts. Being a seven furlong handicap for horses in Class I, the day's feature looked quite competitive. On the basis of his good third behind Bourne Supreme and Atlantus earlier in the season, Arjun Mangalorkar's Tomsk was the first choice of the punters. After being beaten twice by Love Conquer's All, Accurate had run poorly in his next start. Narredu had lightened his burden by declaring apprentice Saddam Hussain to ride him on Saturday. The youngster had won a few races in recent months and was brimming with confidence. Irfan's pair of Firezone and Sunstone were blessed with a lot of ability. The only question mark around them pertained to their present form. Firzone's second behind What A friend and ahead of Sovetskaya was his best effort this year. Would he be able to reproduce it ? That was one question that which was difficult to answer. All in all, the race retained an extremely "open" look, as the runners reached the starting gates.
Making use of his feather-weight,middle draw and initial speed, Accurate was taken to the front. Cavalry Charge, Gluteues Maximus and Sunstone raced at regular intervals, while the other six were spread right accross the track. The posture of Hussain in the saddle showed that Accurate was racing well within himself. The others were off the bridle and each and every jockey had pulled out his stick. Gluteus Maximus responded to Chouhan's urgings and moved into second spot, but that was all he could manage. Saddam Hussain had a cheeky look over his shoulder before deciding to release his grip on the leader. Accurate showed further resolve and moved smoothly towards the winning post. This was perhaps one of the easiest victories scored in a class I handicap this season. Gluteus Maximus hung-on to his second spot ahead of a late rushing Tomsk. Atlantus carried his back-breaking weight into fourth place.
Suraj succeeded in guiding Red Admiral to a pillar-to-post victory in a maiden's event later in the afternoon.After a lung opener about six weeks ago, wherein, he had finished a comfortable fifth, Red Admiral had been subjected to steady preparation. In the company of older stablemates, he had been showing out in his morning trials. Riding this well-bred horse from his father's stable, Suraj was drawn on the wide outside. Not wanting to take chances and wait behind a bunch of first-timers, he took Red Admiral to the front. Second-in-demand Haute Ecole ran kindly for Imran Chisty, and was always in touch with the leader. However the contest became unequal in the straight. Red Admiral lengthened his strides and galloped away from Haute Ecole and Forthcoming. Haute Ecole is sure to benefit from this maiden outing, and is more than likely to win her next start. Even though the winner is no "champion", he is sure to blossom into a good handicapper.
The Bugs Bunny Trophy, a terms event for first season runners, saw a couple of winners carrying penalties against a set of maidens. Both Meghalaya and Speedy Girl had run more than once in their careers, and were known to be talented sprinters. On paper, Satish Narredu's Speedy Girl had the better form. However, it was Union Jack and Arthur that cornered a bulk of the money. The former went straight to the front and tried his best to run away with this race. Imran Chisty brought Union Jack first into the straight and asked him to "go". However, he did not get the desired response from his mount. PS Chouhan and Speedy Girl , who were always running second, came alongside. All Chouhan had to do thereafter was to push his filly. She galloped like a seasoned campaigner and made light of her winning penalty. Union Jack and Meghalaya took the minor placings, while Arthur performed poorly to finish off the frame. Apart from the above-mentioned pair of Accurate and Red Admiral, this was the third winner from Satish Narredu's stable.
Leading jockey PS Chouhan added a second point to his tally ,when he scored a victory with Darius Byramji's No Doubt later in the afternoon. Rashid Byramji's Invincible Shot was a hot favourite in this race. This bandaged horse had run some good races with lesser jockeys in the saddle over the last couple of months, and the presence of Suraj today was supposed to be a big advantage. But, a jockey can only play a limited role, and it is the horse that must run. Invincible Shot was in no mood to gallop on Saturday. He ran in patches and ended a poor third. Another Voice and No Doubt fought a stirring duel down the length of the straight, and it was the former who finally succeeded in getting the nod from the judge. Since the two of them had come very close to each other, there were many who felt that Henrique may raise and objection against Chouhan. Nothing of the sort happened and the white cone was hoisted.
A small group of seven lined up at the mile marker to participate in a race reserved for horses rated 40-65. A couple of second place's in his last two outings were enough for racegoers to support Castro. The Attaolahi trainee had lost those races by a short head and a neck, and it was felt that he would be able to score today. Arjun Mangalorkar's Mountain Of Joy was another runner that merited consideration ,as he too had suffered from a hampered passage while losing narrowly to Arabian Gold. Grand Success, Castro and Mountain Of Joy raced in front ,while Top Secret lost ground at the jump and was seen being whipped within fifty metres of the start. The three front-runners were almost abreast at the top of the straight. Under some strong riding from S John, Mountain Of Joy dug deep into his reserves of stamina and charged away from Castro, Top Secret and Grand Success. The three placed horses ended within hand-shaking distance of each other.
A sprint for horses five years old and over in class IV , looked like a competitive affair. Having slightly better credentials than the others, Enduring Speed and Fantabulous Star were seen heading the betting charts. Chantilly Jewel skipped away to open up a nice looking lead over Oceanic Wind and She's A Lady, and they headed the group till the two furlong marker. It was hereabouts that Enduring Speed made his move. In the hands of Henrique, the six year old gained momentum and sailed away from the others. He won handsomely from She's A Lady and Fantabulous Star. The last named made up much ground from the back and looks capable of winning an age group race over seven furlongs before the end of this season. Jockey Henrique has made a fine impression in the last couple of weeks that he has ridden at this centre.
Sharat Kumar's bandwagon continued to roll on Saturday when Gorgeous Gold began the day's proceedings with a victory for his stable. The race had a clear favourite in Satish Narredu's Whisper In Town. The filly had stunned the followers of form by winning her earlier start. With Koch astride, the four length victory had earned her a hefty penalty. The opposition today was much poorer. Despite conceding weight to the field, she was installed as an on-money choice of the punters. However, she failed to perform on expected lines and after bursting a blood vessel, finished last of eight in this race. Sandhurst got tired after showing early speed, and faded away to finish a poor third. Gorgeous Gold and Startscream made their moves from the back at about the same juncture. Responding nicely to Rathod's whip, Gorgeous Gold got stronger in the final furlong and cantered away from a hard ridden Starscream.
The only other race in the eight event card was picked up by Padmanabhan's Provocateur. The four year old filly was re-apearing after three runs in the Summer Season. With equal support for Samovar, For An Angel and Mellonsdelight, the others were neglected from a betting perspective. Provocateur was a rank outsider in this nine furlong event for horses in the lowest category. Ahsan Qureshi pushed Provocateur into an early lead over Samovar, Jigri Dost and Mellonsdelight, as the runners made their journey towards far corner. The order remained the same as they took the rising ground and turned for home. After missing the kick, For An Angel made up much ground to join the pack at this stage. Even though Provocateur came under immense pressure near the distance post, there was nothing that was looking threatening from behind. With whips flying, every single runner seemed to be feeling the heat. Provocateur lasted out to score from a late finishing Cowboy Cal and Mellonsdelight.