Mr. Farouq Rattonsey & trainer S S Shah leading Beautiful Stranger (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The R.M. Goculdas Gold Cup
Beautiful Stranger (Glory of Dancer – Double Wish) carrying the top weight (62) galloped on resolutely to ward off a pack of hounding rivals to score a brilliant victory in the RM Goculdas Gold cup. The lead changed hands a couple of times as Dovers Hill took charge from Saints N Sinners to lead the bunch past the 800, Beautiful Stranger settled in third and the rest were in a close huddle at the turn, with Dancing Glances at the tail end of the field. Into the straight, Dovers Hill carried on but when Beautiful Stranger challenged his past the 400, Dovers Hill caved in. Jockey YS Srinath then got forceful with Beautiful Stranger and soon built a handy lead. Bullet, Star Trainer and Rajasthan Royals were looming large within striking distance while Dancing Glances too was making headway and was the widest of them all. Beautiful Stranger never wilted under pressure and there was a lot of it and carried on in full flow and managed to stay well ahead. Star Trainer got closer to the winner keeping Rajasthan Royals at bay while Dancing Glances forced his way into the judge’s frame with a late effort.
Fortune Hunter (Placerville – Only For Gold) won the Mauritius Tourism Cup successfully taking on the strong favourite Grand Design. Tell Me More was smartly out and led the field for a brief while after which Banana Boy took on the mantle. While Srinath settled Fortune Hunter well in the fourth spot, Zervan after a decent jump fell back alarmingly to the second last position in a cramped field.
Banana Boy led them into the straight and Srinath made smooth progress with Fortune Hunter to bring him to the front past Scaramouch and the others around. Approaching the distance post, Fortune Hunter wriggled free and led by a length or two. Meanwhile, Grand Design couldn’t find her way and Zervan had to shift to the outside. Grand Design gathered solid momentum and it raised hopes of getting past the leader with a short dazzle that looked promising. However, she failed to sustain it all the way and Fortune Hunter was kicking on too showing no signs of loosening his stranglehold on the lead. He eventually stayed ahead to win convincingly leaving Grand Design and Zervan to rue the lack of better positioning early on in the race. Saddlers Rule showed good consistency again and did well to finish in the money. Fortuner (Senure – Kisses Due) made a valiant start to finish bid and returned triumphant to win the Rajcoomar Gujadhar Memorial Trophy Div I without encountering any challenge. He hit the front soon on start and worked up a fiery pace and boote4d home the early advantage to score his second victory in his last three outings. He quickened well after turning for home and although Walking Tall and Matilda were following him closes behind, he stretched away from them in a trice. Emerald Valley tried to put some fight but found his bearing far too late. Fortuner romped home by a comfortable margin while Emerald Valley, Walking Tall and Matilda finished in close order.
The Lower division of the race was a fiercely fought battle that ended in a three pronged finish. Tudor Regent shot ahead soon on start with Fallen Angel, Ran Banka and Winchester in close attendance. Foxtrot was next but was too far behind.
Tudor Regent entered the straight and picked up momentum. He surged further ahead and was leading comfortably with Fallen Angel and Winchester still a couple of lengths away. It was in the final fifty that both Fallen Angel and Winchester closed in rapidly and the three zipped past the wire in a flash. Fallen Angel (Ontario – Ganga Pume) just about won, Winchester and Tudor Regent finished in that order with a short-head separating each of the three.
Armel (Diffident – Sensuality) earned his maiden success following a tough challenge from favourite Sky High. The duo grabbed all the limelight and reduced it to a two-horse contest as they marched ahead stuck closely in the homestretch. Commander was a good three lengths further behind. Armel stuck to the task of preserving his lead to the end while Sky High looked determined to get past him. Less than a length separated Armel from Sky High as both galloped strongly towards the approaching winning post. Armel had enough in the tank to drive home the advantage and prevail by a little over a length. Commander gained ground in the final fifty to end a head behind Sky High. Marengo had an educative outing ending fourth but improving positions.
In the Municipal Commissioner’s Trophy, favourite Mountain Queen put up a pathetic show to let down a large following. She galloped in the rear and was constantly being pushed and plodded yet ended a far away third without raising any hope. Sheriff made all the early running and when it mattered he wilted and finished a poor last. Spirit of Mercy showed some spirit to enliven the race, but he too could not match the speed and domination that Cogito Ergo Sum displayed. In the straight, Cogito Ergo Sum stretched out with awesome vigour to step up pace and in the final furlong simply drew away from Spirit of Mercy. Cogito Ergo Sum (Key of Luck – Highshaan) was simply too good for the rest and scored a dominating victory that she see him do well in the higher set as well, over the distance.
Star Goddess (Alnasr Alwasheek – Plazzio) continued her good run this season with another brilliant performance taking her win tally to four from five outings this season, including a fine hat-trick. Taking over from early leader Greatness early in the straight, Star Goddess left nothing to chance as she accelerated extremely well and Imran Chisty drove her further ahead to emerge clear in the final furlong. Greatness tried hard to come back but in vain. Star Goddess stretched further away and pulled off a sensational victory clocking just 58.48 for the scurry.
Blue Knight (Placerville – Blurr) produced a scintillating final burst to shock a comfortable looking Kaskazi literally on the final stride. Kaskazi who ran in the third position all the way until the straight got a lovely opening along the rails and sailed smoothly into the lead. Akshay sat with him till well into the straight and then gave him to go. Kaskazi responded with alacrity and bounded forward. Calvaryman who was in second made it look that Kaskazi was well out of clasp. Blue Knight quickly moved to one behind the leader and started to inch his way closer. Kaskazi, with 100 to go still was over a length ahead and was kicking on. Blue Knight then lit up and his last few strides were awesome. He covered ground rapidly to finally nail Kaskazi on the wire. Friendly ran inconsistently falling from the mid-bunch to last and then improved again to end a decent third.
For the professionals, trainer HJ Antia and jockey YS Srinath scored a double each.