Trainer S Narredu leading Absolute Majority (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Karnataka Sub Area Trophy
After intense action over the Derby Weekend, an ordinary card of eight events was framed for Saturday's racing at Bangalore. The Karnataka Sub Area Trophy, a seven furlong handicap for horses rated 40-65, was accorded the pride of place as the day's feature. Five out of the ten acceptors were three year olds, and as expected, they finished ahead of their older opponents. All of them had graduated from the maiden ranks and were trying to score their first points in handicap company. Satish Narredu's Absolute Majority had won a race over an identical distance on debut earlier in the season. In his next run, while starting as a hot favourite, he had faltered at the gates. Because of his unruly behaviour, he had reared up and lost considerable ground as the runners had taken off from the seven furlong marker. The big made horse rallied bravely thereafter, but was unable to do better than finish a fair second to Own Asset. There was little doubt that had he begun normally, he would have finished ahead of the winner. After a couple of gate practice's, and the aid of blinkers, Absolute Majority was a serious contender for today's prize. Dominic trained Stellar Ambition was a marginal favourite ahead of the former. He had been a rousing performer during the winter months. The free-striding horse had raced amongst better company, and the fact that he was recieving weight from Absolute Majority today, gave him a slight edge in this race. The pair was backed to the exclusion of their rivals.
Whistlejacket, Cirque Du Soleil and Stellar Ambition took off smartly and raced prominently till the bend. Both Absolute Majority and Diamonite took time to find their rhythm and were seen a couple of lengths behind the leading trio as they moved towards the bend. The field began to tighten up as they straightened for home. Stellar Ambition moved the best of the lot in front and overtook the tiring pair of Whistlejacket and Cirque Du Sileil. Whilst Diamonite galloped freely towards the centre of the track, Absolute Majority was caught in a traffic jam. Since Suraj had chosen to wait for an opening towards the inner rails, he saw a pair of tired runners dropping towards him. Being vastly experienced, he was quick to take evasive action. He moved Absolute Majority towards the left, found galloping space for him and asked him for an effort. There was a gap of a couple of lengths between him and front running Stellar Ambition at that point in time. Absolute Majority produced a sparkling turn of foot and made up ground on the leader. In a matter of seconds, he had gone ahead of the pack. It was a stylish performance from a talented youngster. Stellar Ambition and Cirque Du Soleil saved place money for their respective connections.
Ryan Marshall's fine partnership with the Byramji trained Invincible Shot continued its winning ways and the pair maintained their unbeaten run this season. The four year old had won the first race of his career only a month ago. Since he had won by a neck, the handicapper had let Invincible Shot off with a light penalty. Another victory by a similar winning margin saw him being rated near the top in the lower division of The Rajah SRK Ranga Row Memorial Cup on Saturday. In the absence of a worthwhile opponent, Invincible Shot was expected to complete his hat-trick in this race. Those who had backed him with confidence had nothing to worry. In his trade mark fashion, Invincible Shot led from the start . Ryan relaxed him towards the rails and allowed Bessie to travel alongside. The race took a serious turn at the bend. A couple of taps at that stage was all that was required. Invincible Shot lengthened his strides and sailed away from Bessie abnd Living Legend. Much was expected from Hillstone, but the chestnut failed to deliver. He made heavy weather of his efforts and ended a poor fourth. The winner is looking better than ever and appears capable of maintaining his successful streak.
The upper division of this race saw an easy victor in Arjun Mangalorkar's Effectual. This filly had failed twice as a favourite this season. Arjun had chosen to lighten Effectual's burden by entrusting her to apprentice Mudassar today, and it was perhaps for this reason that she was available at 5's and over in the betting rings. Prithviraj trained Brabus Speed was a hot rage in this race. His half-hearted close second behind Free Law was considered to be "good enough" to win this race. With PS Chouhan declared to ride him today, Brabus Speed was an odds-on choice of the punters. Effectual made steady progress from the widest draw and was soon at the helm of affairs. She led comfortably from Lads Ability and Brabus Speed. The leader was joined by Brabus Speed near the two furlong marker. In fact, with Chouhan making free use of his whip, the favourite moved marginally ahead at this stage. But Effectual was in no mood to give up. She rallied brilliantly on the rails and beat back the challenge from Brabus Speed. Her lengthening strides enabled her to saunter clear near the winning post. The favourite stopped in his tracks and all but lost the second spot to Jaldi and Cat Logan.
Jockey Valdir DeSouza was the lone professional to score a double on Saturday. He started by picking up the first race of the afternoon. Sirajuddin's three year old Knock Out was lucky to be relegated to class V. Her fourth in a maidens set earlier this month had shown that she was a useful type. Despite looking gross in the parade ring, she had recovered from a tardy start and ended within hailing distance of Will Star, Petite Fleur and Boudicca. The only question mark pertained to an ability to carry the back-breaking weight that she had been assigned today. Knock Out tracked Shades Of Scarlet , One From A Billion and Caress till the top of the bend. Well supported Velvetine was tracking the favourite till that stage. DeSouza chose to skirt the front-runners as they turned for home. To his bad luck, Caress moved outwards and hampered his passage. By the time he recovered and got his mount on an even keel, Velvetine had assumed command of the proceedings. Knock Out moved strongly on the wide outside and got up in time to get the better of Velvetine near the winning post. On this showing, Knock Out can be expected to repeat on promotion.
Strongly supported Summer Sun proved to be too strong for his ten opponents in a seven furlong race for horses in class IV. The connections had waited almost a year to have a "touch" on this horse. After a run on relegation, Amit Caddy had prepared him for today's race. Without being hustled, Summer Sun tracked Words Of Wisdom and Champagne On Ice , as the runners moved past the half way marker. DeSouza showed him daylight towards the centre of the track and asked him to "go". Summer Sun increased the tempo and charged towards the winning post. A hard ridden Neron made a futile bid to go close, but it was all in vain. The contest was quite unequal. Lucky Sam and Sutton Prince made up much ground in the closing stages to take the other slots on the result boards.
Last outing winner Hatchet Harry was the third fancied runner under Valdir DeSouza. The four year old had been pushed up a full class after his runaway success in the lowest category. With second-in-demand Royal Spirit rocketing away to the front, Hatchet Harry was seen being niggled to retain his forward position. Vaideeshwaran and Royal Spirit saved ground by hugging the inner rails and skipped clear in the straight. The ones at the back came under pressure and failed to collar the leader. In a scramble for minor placings, Rise To Glory appeared late to peg back Regal Hostess into third place. Hatchet Harry could do no better than settle for the fourth spot. The favourite will need to come down many points before making an impression amongst a similar set of horses.
The speedy A Game To Remember produced a sparkling effort in the straight to beat the heavily supported Seven Heaven and Sarang. Even though Seven Heaven was backed at every price, there was stray support for Star Of Desire, Day Trader, Sarang, Trillion Win and A Game To Remember. Trillion Win set a strong pace ahead of Star Of Desire and Day Trader, but all three of them got tired near the bend and faded out of contention. A Game To Remember was ridden differently by Trevor today. The front-running mare was held in check for the first half of the journey. The brakes were released near the distance post and the response was quite fascinating. She travelled all alone in front and ended clear of a heavily whipped Seven Heaven and the late finishing Sarang. Since races reserved for horses five years old and over are quite rare, those in the beaten brigade will have to wait a while before earning their corn bills.
It has been noticed that the action in the betting rings is often indicative of what is going to transpire in an actual race. This phenomenon was highlighted in the last race on Saturday. The odds against early morning favourites Windsor Park and Stormyred began to expand, while there was strong support for Inspirator and She's A Lady. Since most of these runners had very ordinary form, punters were hoping to pick up a clue from the bookmakers. The race unravelled on expected lines. After overtaking early leader Jeyem near the bend, Windsor Park wrested the issue and cruised ahead of the others. PS Chouhan's posture in the saddle indicated that the mare was travelling quite comfortably. However, she was unable to sustain that effort, and surrendered tamely after being challenged in the final furlong. Inspirator and She's A Lady made a strong bid from the back and the final result was confined to the two of them. The former managed to move ahead in the closing stages and win comfortably. Vivek rode a competent race astride this Inayathulla trainee. Despite bursting her blood vessels, Windsor Park retained the third spot. She looked extremely well in the paddock, and it may not be long before she enters the winner's enclosure.