Mr. Kuttapa receiving The Sweet Senorita Cup from Mr. Vijay Singh
The colours of RK Wadhawan and Waryam Singh were prominent throughout the opening day’s monsoon races at the Calcutta racecourse on Tuesday. Three of their runners were first past the winning post. Two of these are under the care of Patrick Quinn and the other from Bharath Singh’s yard. While the latter’s Ice Fantasy won at odds of 7/1, Patrick’s winners (Whispering Hill and Ocean Legacy) were strongly supported and closed as piping hot favourites.
The withdrawal of Star Vision reduced the field for the Sweet Senorita Cup to four. Kinshasa shot into a three-length lead but was worried by the outsider of four – Ocean Clipper, who joined the front-runner on his flank. Ocean Legacy (Diffident-Raziya) and Md Islam were tucked in along the rails. At the top of the straight, owner-mate Ocean Clipper drifted out and left an easy passage for the public choice who drew away from the small field. Top-weight Mesmerizer ran on to be a creditable runner-up but by then Islam had eased off his mount.
Earlier, able apprentice Zarar Alam had piloted Whispering Hill (Placerville-Maevella) to a fairly hard-fought triumph in the Best Of All Handicap. The filly drifted out on a rain soaked track and finished on the outer rails, a neck ahead of fast moving Cee Four. Memories was earlier withdrawn and the five-horse field ended up within a length or so of each other, which suggests that this set of runners will be worth keeping an eye on.
Ice Fantasy (Hurricane Run-Land Mine) was ridden with great opportunism by Vinay Jaiswal. Both Al Di La and Amazing Speed were fancied by their respective stables and the pair split the bookmakers’ satchels almost equally. Rather surprisingly, Amazing Speed raced dead last while Al Di La called the shots, three lengths ahead with Vinay Jaiswal allowing his mount to run her own race in second slot. After all, he had nothing to lose and a lot to gain should the one-paced Al Di La come back at him, which is precisely what happened. Meanwhile, Amazing Speed finished from the last berth to be a close third. It will be interesting to see how the last named runs her next outing.
Monsoon champion trainer Vikash Jaiswal and his patrons Rishi Anand and Bimal Khemka utilised the riding skills of jockey A Imran Khan to good effect to land a lucrative hat-trick. All three runners were backed heavily. Seven-year-old Swiss King (Diffident-Cyclonic) won the opening event without much ado while both Harness Free and Flightning had to be hard ridden to land the spoils.
Harness Free (Greensmith-After Dawn) faced a strong challenge from top-weight Regal Bearing but Imran Khan kept the colt going under the stick after taking over the running at the top of straight. The disappointment in the race was the poor run of Ebony Princess.
Flightning (Warrshan-Rainbow Flash) bagged the Brown Wolf Handicap after a keen tussle with Poker Princess who had taken up the running from Bayberry in the straight. This proved to be A Imran Khan’s toughest ride as he had to get the filly to fire on all cylinders under the stick after a somewhat tardy beginning.
The most impressive winner of the afternoon was probably Amaretto from Arti Doctor’s yard and the chestnut seems destined for the highest class here after this showing with 61kg on his back at a mark of 62. Shezad Khan enjoyed an armchair ride atop the sprinter who must have given trainer Arti Doctor enough reason to smile after a none too successful opening day.
Trainer suspended: Trainer Farley Rodrigues has been suspended for 15 days and fined Rs 10,000/- for his runner Supreme Summit testing positive after his victory on the penultimate day of the winter meet.