Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Speed Six (Trevor Patel Up), winner of The Civil Service Cup
A totally transformed Speed Six ran one of his best races in recent times while pocketing The Civil Service Cup at Bangalore on Saturday. A horse that had struggled to beat the likes of Aztec Gold, Spark Of Silver and Smooth Glider at almost level weights a few weeks ago, came out and defied his winning penalty over a similar trip in the day's feature. Since a number of problems have troubled him throughout his career, Speed Six has been sparingly campaigned. His brilliant run in the Colts Championship last summer is difficult to forget, but his progress thereafter has been quite scratchy. Because of these reasons, Speed Six ran friendless today. Volterra, Black Magic Woman and Maddox were fancied ahead of the winner. Despite just two career triumphs, Volterra was running in class I. The timing that she clocked while carrying a back-breaking weight on the local track showed that she belonged to the highest category. With nine kilos off her back, Volterra was the first choice of the punters. Since Arjun had chosen to claim an allowance on Black Magic Woman, the filly was another one that ran with a realistic chance of winning this race. It was apparent that in this group of fifteen, the winner would have to come up with a gutsy performance.
Magnitude Star did his normal front-running and led from Accurate and Maddox. Black Magic Woman and Volterra settled nicely towards the inner rails while Speed Six made a smart move from his extreme draw, as the runners took the rising ground near the three furlong marker. The field began to spread out at this stage. While Zervan and Volterra had fallen back a bit, Speed Six and Trevor had come within striking distance of the leaders. Both Maddox and Speed Six made their final charge at the same juncture. The pair began to pull way from the pack. Under some relentless riding from Trevor, Speed Six dug deep into his reserves of stamina and went ahead of his challenger. There was another scene unfurling at the back. Zervan had to use all his skills to push Volterra into third place. She got up just in time to move ahead of Magnitude Star and Sun Absolute. The manner in which Volterra raced indicated that she would be better suited over a slightly longer trip. In this sort of form, Speed Six can look forward to doing well in the next couple of months.
A tremendous burst of speed in the last two furlongs enabled Slade Valley to canter away from a good bunch of horses in a sprint reserved for horses rated 40-65. This Bharath Singh trained three year old colt had won his only start at Kolkata. Being impressed by the manner of his running, the Bangalore handicapper had given him a high rating. Although he had won by a "distance", those who had seen him run felt that he hadn't beaten much in that race. However, everyone acknowledged that he was blessed with a lot of speed. With Borak enjoying a lot of support, the odds against Slade Valley continued to expand, as the horses reached the starting gates. Those who expected Slade Valley to exploit his early turn-of-foot and go to the front, were in for a surprise. He missed the kick and graced the wrong end of the field. Quick Enough and Borak brought the field into view, and were a couple of lengths ahead of the others. At about the same juncture, Slade Valley's gold cap was sighted towards the outer portion of the track. In a trice, he joined the leaders and went past them. He won more comfortably than the official verdict and clocked a top class timing. Having done this after a slow getaway was indeed praiseworthy. Over a sprint, he is one of the best three year olds that we have seen this season.
The J Lingaiah Memorial Trophy, a mile handicap for horses four years old and over in class III, looked like a very open affair. Quite a few amongst them had the credentials to land the prize. Since Padmanabhan's Enchanted Forest had sprung a surprise a few weeks ago, she carried the public purse today. With John replacing Ashok Kumar, it was felt that she would be able to defy her winning penalty. But the filly found a couple of strong opponents in Young Achiever and Golden Viper, and had to be content with the third slot. Both Young Achiever and Golden Viper came from the tail end of the pack and fought out a close finish. Early leaders One Time Magic, Salsa Touch and Ibelieveinmiracles were totally exhausted in the straight. Suraj rode the winner for Satish Narredu's stable.
A maidens event over 1100 metres generated much excitement in the betting rings. M Narredu's An Acquired Taste was running for the first time in his career. Based on their earlier performances, Hyderabad import Ocean Side and local hopefuls Whistlejacket and Magic Money cornered much of the betting. However, the punters were in for a surprise. With loads of money flowing in the direction of An Acquired Taste, this runner climbed the charts and soon headed the boards. Even though he looked slightly "heavy" in the paddock, it was rumoured that he possessed the class to tackle the present opposition. Even the track reporters were dumbfounded, as they claimed that this horse had not been sighted on the training track in recent weeks. Jockey N Rawal had apparently been declared to get a better price from the bookmakers. The lack of experience, coupled with the fact that the trip turned out to be a bit sharp for his liking, led to his undoing. He failed to find early speed and was soon passed by most of the runners. By the time he could extricate himself from the traffic jam, Whistlejacket had overtaken early leader Ocean Side and established a strong hold on this race. F DaSilva relaxed his hold on the Dhariwal trainee, and this allowed An Acquired Taste to finish close behind him. N Rawal lodged an objection and tried to get result reversed in the Stewards Room, but there was little merit in his protest. There is no doubt that An Acquired Taste is a good type of youngster, and it will not take him long to emerge from the maiden ranks. The winner enabled Dhariwal to complete a double for the afternoon.
A class IV sprint was split into two divisions. Byramji's dickey-legged Invincible Shot was the favourite in early morning trade, but a surge of money on Dominic's Rise To Glory saw the latter starting as a firm favourite in this race. Since Invincible Shot had been prepared in the swimming pool and was running after a fairly long interval, it was felt by many that he may need this outing. However, he proved them wrong. In the hands of Ryan Marshall, Invincible Shot went to the front and managed to stay there. The two length lead that he enjoyed near the distance post came to his rescue. Javanica, The Situation and Rise To Glory came menacingly close to him , but that was all they could manage. It is difficult to read much into the result of this race, as it was a modest bunch of runners that faced the starter. Javanica has definitely shown a lot of improvement this season.
In the lower division of this race, Lokanath's Mountain High was supported with confidence and the four year old won accordingly. He made a belated start to his career and ran for the first time during the opening weekend of this season. Even though he was running today in a group that included of a number of winners, Mountain High was receiving weight from them. The stable hoped for a lot from him, and the chestnut lived upto their expectations. He tracked Champagne On Ice till the top of the straight before assuming command of the proceedings. With apprentice Kuldeep Singh making free use of the whip, Mountain High powered to the front and won by over six lengths from Aspects Of Love and Champagne On Ice. The others ran pathetically in this race. The winner is sure to defy the handicapper in his next outing.
A couple of races reserved for horses in the lowest category resulted in runaway victories for Bebo and Shining Fame. Both of them scored for the first time in their careers, and achieved their objective in identical fashion. Making her seasonal debut last month, Dhariwal's Bebo had served notice by ending a respectable second to the speedy Caraway in the higher class. She was carrying the top weight on relegation. With the withdrawal of second favourite Special on Saturday, the decks were somewhat cleared for this progeny of Midtown to have her say. She stormed to the front from the word "go" and never gave a chance to any of her nine opponents. All Vaibhav had to do in the straight was to wave his whip at Bebo. She kicked clear of Jeyem and Spark Of Blue in the final furlong and gave an impression, that in her present condition, another victory could be round the corner.
The other division had a strong favourite in Sayyonee. Even though she had run a bit "green" while ending second last time out, trainer Md Khan chose not to use blinkers on her today. In my opinion, this proved to be a costly decision. With PS Chouhan rushing Shining Fame into an early lead, jockey TS Jodha had to urge Sayyonee to stay in contention. The favourite ran alongside Smart Edition in third place till the top of the straight. Despite her jockey's urgings, she continued to remain thereabouts. It was only in the last twenty metres that she managed to get the better of Smart Edition and ended in second place. The scene in front remained unchanged. Shining Fame enjoyed her freedom and strode away comfortably. The day Sayyonee runs with blinkers, she will be worth supporting.