Mr Vijay B. Shirke, Mr K. N. Dhunjibhoy & Mr Farouq K. Rattonsey leading Onassis (B Prakash Up), winner of The Karl Umrigar Turf Championship
The Karl Umrigar Turf Championship Trophy is one race that means a lot to trainer Pesi Shroff. Karl was Shroff’s brother-in-law and understandably there exists an emotional bonding here. Since the inception of this race in honour and memory of jockey Karl Umrigar, who succumbed to a lung injury, after sustaining a fatal fall in a three-horse race decades ago, Pesi won this race last year and Onassis was the hero then as well. Karl was the Champion jockey ofhis time, known to have solid integrity and abundant talent.
Onassis (Glory of Dancer – Rahy’s Serenade) provided the much sought after trophy for the Shroff camp and he won it in style. Berlusconi tried to use his bottom weight advantage and shot ahead soon on start to lead the six runners at a decent clip. Cielo Ray settled a couple of lengths behind, Prakash kept Onassis just ahead of Native Knight who was last of all.
Onassis improved positions steadily and on turning for home was up third and closing in on Berlusconi and Cielo Ray. Past the 300 m Onassis picked up a fiery momentum and shot past the duo in front and snatched the lead. Once ahead, Onassis looked good to last out the distance and stay clear of the rest. Cielo Ray did well to resurface, after seeming to have packed up, to run a close second. “I am very happy to have won this race as Karl is family. He was a great jockey and unfortunately his untimely and tragic death took away a truly talented professional. I target this race almost a year in advance as this race is special to me in many ways. Onassis has been in good form this season and his latest condition too was spot on. I was confident that Onassis would do well as he pretty much is a seasoned horse. Prakash rode him perfectly and I am immensely pleased to have won this race,” said trainer Pesi Shroff.
“I didn’t have much to do as he (Onassis) himself knew what was to be done. I sat back with him for the major part of the journey and he travelled well throughout. Once I asked him for an effort, he responded instantly and I knew I had the race well covered long before the winning post arrived. He is a game horse who is in great shape,” said jockey B Prakash.
Rajasthan Royals (Hymn – Jukebox) romped home to a convincing win to claim the Bangalore Turf Club Trophy. Dear Henry led the field homeward and came in with a handy lead. However he was giving weight all around and that told on him. Rajasthan Royals flew from the mid-bunch midway in the straight and stretched out impressively to ward off the challenge of Vittoria. Dear Henry ended third.
Capriole (China Visit – Silken Star) put in a spirited run to hammer the opposition with an aggressive stretch run. Running Sun made the running for most part of the journey and entered the straight with a slender lead. Glowing Star and Neath were up close to the leader, Tolstoy got the appropriate opening at the right juncture but could not quicken the way he did with the lower set of horses in his last start. Capriole was right alongside Tolstoy and she quickened, galloping resolutely, covering ground at an alarming rate. She looked the winner the moment Sandesh brought her within the vicinity of the front runners, as she stormed past them all approaching the distance post. Running Sun kicked on to finish second, a good effort indeed. Neath could have done better as she had all the chances coming into the straight with a clear passage in front. She failed to match the fiery gallop of Capriole and ended a tame third. Tolstoy failed to finish on board and ended one off, Glowing Star denying him that honour.
Deja Vu (Black Cash – Bon Sang) was well supported along with Step Up and this pair dominated the market trends. It was disaster for Mister Meddle as he whipped around at the gates and failed to take part in the race. Step Up galloped ahead to lead the field followed closely by Angels Quest on the rails, the rest followed in a huddle with Déjà vu tailing the bunch, another 4-5 lengths behind was Holiday Dancer. Into the straight, Step Up sped away slightly with Barringo on her heels. Home Factor was galloping on the centre of the track and Déjà vu shifted out considerably running closer to the outer railings. Nirmal Jodha failed to check the outward drift of Deja Vu but managed to surge ahead alright. At the wire, Deja Vu spared more than a length to Home Factor who managed to peg back Step Up for the runner up berth.
Eskimo (Mull of Kintyre – Flamingo Fan) lived up to expectations and scored a facile start-to-finish victory. Prakash guided the Shroff colt smoothly into the lead straight from the gates and worked up a lively pace. Zoom Zoom chased the favourite at close quarters and had Rising Power just behind. None of the others headed the three in front. On turning for home, Prakash urged Eskimo to step up momentum. Zoom Zoom went all out in chase but Eskimo clearly was travelling better for the major part of the homestretch. Zoom Zoom ran a hard race, but could only manage to get slightly closer to the winner at the wire. Rising Power ended third.
Celestial Call (Placerville – Star Fortune) pulled off a clinical victory in the day’s opening race. Chasing Aslan from the outset, Celestial Call bided his time until the straight and then started to
get closer to Aslan. Tara who was in third moved up to offer a fight, but Celestial Call had picked up good speed and was in no danger. Celestial Call galloped on to score a fluent victory with Tara clearly falling short.
Mansoor Shah schooled Cuba (Mischevious Music-Callisto) made it a start to finish affair in the Knock-Knock Plate, a six furlong sprint, to pull off a maiden win. Taking off well from a favourable draw, jockey Dashrath Singh had the 6 year old mare handy in front and established a sizable lead over Fantastic Kingdom who was the nearest challenger, as they moved into the final 200 metres. Calypso Queen moved strongly towards the closing stages with Fantastic Kingdom also picking up speed but both of them failed to collar Cuba and they finished second and third respectively in a close finish.
Angels Tern (Tirol-Pupa Fiorini) was given a confident ride by Bangalore based jockey B. Sreekanth to lift the V.R.Menon Plate, the concluding race of the day. Tracking the front running Money Flash, till the last 300 metres, Angels Tern surged ahead to pick up her maiden win. Sacre Coeur made a late attempt to deny Money Flash the runner-up berth.
For the professionals, trainer Pesi Shroff saddled a double, while jockeys B Prakash, Dashrath Singh and A Sandesh rode a double each.