Trainer D M David receiving The Sophisticated Lady Cup from Lt. Gen. R. N. Singh G.O. C. Eastern Command
What an afternoon to remember for jockey B. Sreekanth, the retained rider of racing baron Dr MAM Ramaswamy! The young jockey with a ‘will to win’ notched up a magnificent quadruple for the famed goldie-brown colours which was reminiscent of B Prakash in his heyday in the same silks.
Particularly enchanting was Sreekanth’s handling of Roman Centurion in the Sophisticated Lady Cup. Nearly all the betting in the 12-horse field was on the pair of three-year-olds Torch Of Life and Abubble. The 8/1 shot Roman Centurion, a four-year-old by Royal Gladiator out of Temple Tune, was gracing the wrong end of the field till the 600 marker after a somewhat tardy beginning.
An instinctive decision by Sreekanth to take the rails at that point went a long way in fetching the cup for the MAM-Daniel David combination. Thereafter, under Sreekanth’s urging, the gelding accelerated beautifully through a gap to sail past Abubble who was threatening to break free. In the final 100 metres, Roman Centurion drew away from the field in taking style.
Sreekanth’s first two winners were for trainer Errol Bhungard. Both youngsters are by the sire Chatham Strait. While he won the upper division of the Steinlen Handicap with the favourite Ocean Way (Chatham Strait-Over The Ocean) without much ado, his handling of Fragrance (Chatham Strait- Yvresse) in the Arizona Pie Handicap was a treat to watch. It was sheer opportunism as he saw the on-money public choice Hurricane Andrew was having trouble to pull away from Amazing Speed. He got the best out of the filly by using the stick.
Sreekanth brought the curtain down with a copybook ride on six-year-old Blazing Spectacle (Rossini-Bongusto) as he gradually improved his mount from an outside draw and finally won peeping over his shoulder. What was surprising was that the winner closed at 7/2 as money poured in on Schwarzenegger. The favourite finished a poor fifth.
The afternoon commenced with the Vikash Jaiswal stable dropping a bombshell in the form of Fascinating (Senure-Flames). The six-year-old mare was fancied last time out by a section of punters but failed to deliver. On this occasion, Melvyn Maseyk got the best out of her over an extended trip. He did well to collar the runaway leader Passport in the straight while the utter disappointment was Christopher Alford’s mount Ace Honour. He was just not responding to his rider’s call in the final 300 metres.
Trainer Richard Alford opened his account for the season with a promising youngster named Burst Of Stardust. The property of Captain Jamshed J Appoo shouldered a crushing top-weight and yet collared runaway Successful close home without raising a sweat. She is a bred-in-the-blue filly (Burden Of Proof-Soviet Song) and has a bright future here.
With the benefit of a mock race, Shafiq Khan-trained Sumangala (Duja-Trillennium) returned to winning ways after a long hiatus. She made every post of the lower division of the Steinlen Handicap a winning one. Hot favourite Rithambhra may have reversed the verdict had she not lost five lengths at the start but then it cuts both ways as the winner with Afzal Khan astride, drifted to the outer rails and lost valuable ground.
Trainer Arti Doctor’s Amaretto produced an encore on expected lines. Shezad Khan was triumphant as he crossed the winning post atop the gelding for the second time in two weeks. The classy four-year-old is by Major Impact out of Romantic Heights. Poles Apart was the best of the rest.