Trainer L V R Deshmukh leading in Tintinnabulation (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Richelieu Plate
A strong staying performance by Deshmukh's three year old Tinitinnabulation was the highlight of Saturday's racing at Bangalore. The manner in which he handled his heavy impost while tearing away from some reasonably good opponents was quite a revelation. For a horse that had recently graduated from the maiden ranks a few weeks ago, and that too over a scurry, this was quite a transformation. He raced prominently till the bend before hitting the front. Running comfortably over the nine furlong trip , he sauntered away from the rest thereafter and stopped the clock in a top class timing of One Minute and Fifty One Seconds. He has now stormed onto the Derby scene, and is sure to start as a fancied runner in that race. It has become a case of "embarrassment of riches" for this stable and its retained rider PS Chouhan. It will be interesting to see what he chooses to ride in The Kingfisher Derby. With Colts Championship winner Machiavellianism sure to start in the big race, the time for him to make a choice is round the corner.
The Class III handicap is normally a lead-up race for three year olds to the Derby. The extended trip is used to test them for speed and stamina. M Narredu's Ascot Magic was an obvious choice in this race. He had won his only start over seven furlongs at Mumbai, and his breeding suggested that he could travel much further. His showing in a mock race had satisfied the connections and they were quite hopeful about his chances. Since he was sitting comfortably at the bottom of the scales, this mount of Suraj was installed as a first favourite ahead of Simply Stylish and Tintinnabulation. However, with money flowing in the direction of the other two, Ascot Magic descended steadily from the top of the betting boards. With Strive And Serve tearing away into an early lead, Sandesh had little problems in settling Tintinnabulation behind him. The other six led by Ascot Magic were huddled together at the back. The race took a serious turn at the bend. While Tintinnabulation travelled comfortably in front, the others came under pressure. On tight reins, the leader skipped clear of the pack. In a fight for the minor placings, Simply Stylish responded to Rajendra's whip and finished well ahead of Ascot Magic and Dark Avenger.
This was a second win for Sandesh as he had already scored with L D'Silva's San Ramon. The seven furlong event for maiden three year olds had a clear favourite in Neil Darashah's Divine Deliverance. In his only start, he had ended a good third over an identical trip, and was expected to improve on that effort. Suraj eased the favourite into third spot behind Sun Salutation and San Ramon, and stayed there till they straightened for home. He got a surprise when he popped Divine Deliverance the question. Instead of responding to his jockey's urgings, the favourite struggled to retain his position. He ultimately faded from the scene and finished off the frame. The race in front was closely fought. San Ramon got up in time to get the better of a tired Sun Salutation and the late finishing Sandstorm. The last named looks like a readymade winner in his next start. As regards Divine Deliverance, it may be a good idea to stay away from him till he shows some improvement.
A brilliant display of riding from light weight jockey Neeraj Rawal was the other highlight of the afternoon. He scored a superb hat-trick by piloting Spark Of Silver, Adalwin and Spark Of Blue to victory.The YS Surender Memorial Cup, a seven furlong handicap for horses in Class I, was the day's feature. A modest looking set of twelve faced the starter. Top weights Atlantus and Star Marquess were marginal favourites ahead of the others. Amongst those handicapped near the bottom, light weights Spark Of Silver and Casanova were attempting to win their first race in the highest category. Resorting to his normal tactics, Casanova set a strong pace ahead of Star Marquess. The pair of them were ahead of the others as they straightened for home. While Casanova moved comfortably, Star Marquess came under pressure. It was at this juncture that a pair of horses started to gain ground on the leaders. Spark Of Silver and Atlantus moved fast on the wide outside, and joined Casanova. It was "anybody's race" at that stage. With all three jockey's waving their whips, it was Neeraj Rawal and Spark Of Silver that touched the wire ahead of Atlantus and Casanova. Only a long neck separated the three of them.
Neeraj's other two winners were saddled by the Byramji's. Darius trained Adalwin had returned from Kolkata after suffering an injury in the only race that he ran at that centre. Despite cutting himself, the four year old had beaten Skyscraper that day. The fact that the beaten horse continued to win till class II last winter, added lustre to the said performance. A long absence from a race track was the only thing against Adalwin. With Ganapathy's Fantastic Strike cornering a bulk of the public support, Adalwin was available at 10's in the betting rings. Rajendra manouvered Fantastic Strike into a good position and was happily placed in the straight. He made free use of his whalebone and charged towards the winning post. He never realized the danger lurking behind him. Adalwin was gaining ground with each stride and was moving dangerously through a closely huddled group of horses. The brave fella saw daylight and did his best. It was good enough to nail the favourite close home. The hat-trick was completed with Rashid Byramji's Spark Of Blue. After a number of lacklustre performances, the five year old mare had shown some spark in her recent start. The third behind Bebo and Jeyem had managed to generate some enthusiasm amongst the punters. They were delighted when she moved steadily in the last furlong and wore down a runaway Jeyem.
Trainer Dominic was the only trainer to saddle a double on Saturday. Both the divisions of The Moonlight Romance Trophy, a maidens event over 1200 metres, were won by his horses in thrilling finishes. Clever Trick had run a number of times during winter and had managed a couple of third places in five attempts. She was lucky to find herself in the lower division of this race. Since she was racing against a bunch of very mediocre horses, Clever Trick was installed as a favourite. Even though she was partnered by an inexperienced Noornabi, the confidence of the connections was reflected in the bookmakers ring. The boy took a good jump and rode capably. The filly overtook early leader London Eye and moved towards the finishing line. A hard ridden Towers Of Hanoi could do no better than finish a close second. The runner-up looks capable of picking up a similar race in future. The winner may take a long time to score another victory in open company.
The other winner for Dominic was Nocturnal Hunter. After making all the running over a marginally longer trip, this horse was reverting to a sprint. He was clashing with a better performed Amitayus in this race. Imtiaz Sait trained Amitayus had run a couple of good races at Mumbai, and was said to be a bit unlucky to still be a maiden. With loads of money coming onto Amitayus, he started as the half-money favourite today. A Imran Khan took a good jump from an extreme outside draw, and Nocturnal Hunter was good enough to occupy a comfortable slot in the early stages of this race. On the other hand, Imran Chisty overcame a couple of traffic problems before bringing Amitayus into contention. The small made Nocturnal Hunter led near the distance post and sailed clear of the others. Amitayus made up much ground thereafter, but wasn't good enough to nail the leader. The Dominic trainee lasted out by a whisker to complete a double for his master.