Mr. Apurba Kumar Saha & Mr. Chiranjit Basu Leading Impressive Move (Trever Patel Up), winner of The Grand Annual Handicap
Saturday afternoon’s races proved to be thoroughly entertaining and had a variety to offer to all kinds of visitors – whether it be the Rs 10/- Tote investor (the petty punter) or the “Peti-punter”- provided they knew how to pick and choose the medium of their gambles. For the latter category of punters, there were Kinshasa and Lady Ship and for the others there were a host of runners with high-tote payments – such as Moment Of Love, Accrews and Highland Music. Trevor Patel’s double comprised two fancied runners (Catchphrase and Impressive Move) at 4/1. Both Trevor and Sreekanth are young men with a will to win and have set the Calcutta track alight with some electrifying finishes.
The Mayor’s Cup held centre-stage during the afternoon. Vijay Singh’s Record Breaker was the firm ante-post favourite at 16/10 though he was running after a long lay-off. Sexy Eyes set a good pace with the favourite in tow while Work Force was tucked in behind this pair. After heads for home, C. Alford on the public choice made his move but was overhauled by the eventual winner Work Force (Placerville-Amnesty bay) in a trice. Daniel David has maintained the property of Mr Salomon N Benveniste in tip top condition and the five-year-old was easily the fittest runner in the field. Aged Samarkhand ran on to take the third spot behind runner-up Silver Fox. The David-Sreekanth combo had earlier tasted success with the 10-to-8-on favourite Kinshasa (Emerald Cat- Nature’s Miracle) who made every post of the Rasalas Handicap a winning one. Naughty Lass was the best of the rest.
The Grand Annual Handicap has lost some of its sheen as it is now restricted to horses rated 45 and below. Nevertheless, it turned out to be an open betting race and produced a grandstand finish. Vijay Singh’s Ace Honour closed as the favourite by virtue of his breeding rather than anything else – after all he had finished behind Al Di La in his maiden start. Colonel Boogey, Impressive Win and Astylar set a quick pace while the favourite was along the rails behind them. The three top-weights (Haddock, First Colours and Impressive Move) were behind them in that order. The big boys took over the action in the straight as Haddock shot ahead despite a crushing impost of 61 kg. First Colours was on his outside. Trevor was struggling to find a passage for Bharath Singh-trained Impressive Move (Mr Mellon-Coco Beach) and find it he did - on the wide outside. Timing his run to perfection, he pegged back Haddock close home to bag this prestigious race with the property of the Pailan Livestock
Trevor had earlier piloted Bharath’s Catchphrase (Burden Of Proof-Catch Fire) to a facile triumph in the Regal Fortune Handicap. The property of Dr Vijay Mallya was never troubled by any of his seven rivals as he collared the front-running Apple Candy with ease and drew away from the field.
Aided by a brilliant forward run in The Calcutta Million, where Candid Fury was struggling to keep pace with him three lengths behind, Vijay Singh-trained Accrews with Neeraj Rawal in the saddle made mincemeat of his rivals in the Azureas Plate. Surprisingly available at 10/1 as money poured in on Cerise and Atwater, Neeraj maintained his mount in the third spot while Ocean Way and Cerise fought for the lead. After the turning for home, Accrews (Oath-Acquest) smoothly took over the running and waved ‘adios amigos’ to his stablemate and fellow competitors in great style.
It was St Patrick’s Day on Saturday and who better to lead in a winner than Patrick Quinn. He may be a second rung trainer at this centre but he is an intelligent one. One has to appreciate the use of apprentices with allowances on his wards. He did it with Stalker earlier in the season and on this occasion with seven-year-old Highland Music. This trend may be common in western India but is sadly absent at this centre due to a dearth of reliable apprentices. The owners who want to back their runner are usually unwilling to take the risk. They prefer a big name among jockeys. Who can blame them!
The bagpipes played a victory march for Quinn as able apprentice Zara Alam jumped out first atop the speedster and showed a clean pair of heels all the way. Fancied runners Silken Dancer and Polariser failed to match strides with his 6/1 shot.
Trainer Javed Khan has been having a bit of a lean season and the trend continued on this afternoon as two of his runners went down narrowly – Haddock in the Grand Annual and Passion N Flames in the opening event. The filly was installed as the favourite but fell short by a whisker to get the better of Jaiswal-trained Moment Of Life (Don Micheletto-Stolen Moments) on whom apprentice Ajoy Roy rode a measured race. While the lad is no doubt improving, he will have to maintain a body-weight of about 52 kg or so if he wants to increase his tally in leaps and bounds.
The curtain came down with Christopher Alford riding his only winner of the day – Lady Ship. The Darius Byramji-trained filly by Placerville out of Lady Moura outclassed the main opposition comprising Classical Romance and King Arthur but had to stave off a strong challenge from aged Temptation.