Mr Savi K. Jain & trainer S Inayathulla leading Indian Bolt (A Sandesh Up), winner of The J. B. Mallaradhya Memorial Cup
An ordinary looking card of eight events was framed for Saturday's racing action at Bangalore. The JB Mallaradhya Memorial Cup, a seven furlong handicap for horses in Class I, occupied the pride of place as the day's feature. Only nine runners accepted to face the starter. Irfan Ghatala's Shivalik Prince had failed in his bid to make it four in a row, when he had lost narrowly to Pure Elation in his last start. Even though he had never won over the present trip, he had shown that he would be comfortable over this distance. In all his victories over six furlongs, Shivalik Prince had made late bids in the straight and galloped strongly near the winning post. The stable felt that it was time to allow him to go a bit further. In the absence of a strong opponent, Shivalik Prince started as a firm favourite in this race. Last outing winners Kyles Of Bute and Indian Bolt shaped like his closest rivals. While Kyles Of Bute was carrying a heavy impost, Indian Bolt was running for the first time in top class company. The only thing in their favour was the fact that today's trip was ideally suited to their style of running. At the end of it all, Indian Bolt produced spakling acceleration in the final furlong , made a successful debut in class I and went on to complete a coveted hat-trick this season.
The initial pace was pretty comfortable with Elite Land, Lad King, Bullet and Kyles Of Bute settling down into an early lead ahead of the others. Shivalik Prince raced keenly in the middle and Suraj had to use his skills to settle him behind the leaders. Sandesh was content to keep Indian Bolt at the back. They raced in close order till the top of the straight. Lad King and Kyles Of Bute had established a small lead into the straight and were involved in a stirring duel as they moved towards the winning post. Suraj took a while to get Shivalik Prince into top gear. Not many realized what was happening at the back. Sandesh had made his move from the rear and Indian Bolt had given him the adequate response. The pair came storming on the wide outside and went past the leaders. By the time Shivalik Prince discovered his galloping shoes, the race was over. He came with a late flourish to take the second place ahead of Kyles Of Bute and Lad King. Trainer Inayathulla has done extremely well with Indian Bolt this season, and the five year old has continued too improve with each run. The handicapper seems to have caught up with Shivalik Prince.
Satish Narredu's Shivalik Star had shown his class by putting up a brilliant performance in his first start a few weeks ago. Because of a physical disability as a youngster, the breeder was unable to sell this highly priced specimen, and had chosen to retain him. It is learnt that he was successfully operated a few months ago. After his near record breaking debut, there were a number of owners who wanted to buy him. Satish was able to persuade an existing lot of patrons in his yard to do the needful. Running for the first time in his new colours, Shivalik Star started as the shortest priced runner this afternoon. Utilising his early speed, Suraj had little problem in taking him to the front. Scenic Blast, Thunderbay and Quick Enough were his nearest pursuers. The final result was apparent at the bend. Shivalik Star travelled so comfortably, that the jockey had the privilege of looking back repeatedly. Despite being relaxed in the final furlong, Shivalik Star clocked a class I timing and passed the winning post many lengths ahead of Thunderbay and Quick Enough. While there is no doubt that he is a talented specimen, the connections will need to keep their fingers crossed. He will have to be handled carefully, as there will always be a lurking fear about his complete fitness. On all known form, and also his impeccable breeding, Shivalik Star can be expected to revel over middle distances.
This was Suraj's second winner of the afternoon, as he had already scored a point with Irfan Ghatala's Wind Stream. The three year old treated his eight opponents with utter disdain and ran away from Chiron and I Say. The race had a strong favourite in the Imtiaz Sait trained Amitayus. For the second time in succession, this horse took down a lot of money. He plodded throughout the race and ended a dismal fourth. Second favourite Rebuttal's Hope ran prominently till the bend before calling it a day. It was learnt that he had burst a blood vessel during the race. In the midst of all this, Wind Stream improved from his third position, overtook early leaders I Say and Chiron near the two furlong marker, and set sail for home. He won easier than the official verdict and indicated that he has a bright future. With this double, Suraj has joined PS Chouhan and P Trevor near the top of the jockey's tally. With all three riding brilliantly, one can look forward to a real close finish in this season's championship.
A couple of well timed runs astride horses in Dr Vijay Mallya's colours, enabled jockey P Trevor to complete a personal double and share the professional honours with Suraj Narredu. Attaollahi trained Cielo Signore had been knocking on the door ever since he started his career. He had been a trifle unlucky to have run against some real good horses in the past. The Manitou Trophy, a sprint reserved for maiden three year olds, saw him competing against ten rivals. These included Boudicca, Shivalik Pride and Firelight. All four of them had shown promise by finishing close behind the winners, and appeared to be evenly matched today. Boudicca led from the word "go", and showed the way to Shivalik Pride, Cielo Signore and Firelight. The other seven were under pressure to keep in touch with the leaders and soon dropped out of contention. The front-runners began to get closer near the distance post. Just as Shivalik Pride moved ahead of Boudicca, Cielo Signore appeared alongside. Under strong guidance from Trevor, Cielo Signore got the better of Shivalik Pride near the winning post. Firelight ran erratically while taking the last place on the result boards. She found the trip a bit short for her liking.
Trevor's cool and composed ride on Dhariwal's Anonymous came in for a lot of acclaim from the railbirds. Anonymous had won his only start in winter and was running for the first time this season. He was opposed in the upper division of the Alekona Trophy by Real Steel and Next Move. Both of them had run a forward race in their previous starts and appeared fit in the paddock. However, on sheer looks, they could not match Anonymous. It goes to Dhariwal's credit to have produced him in such fine shape today. The colt was known to possess a lot of speed and the ability to carry his top weight to victory. Since he was drawn the widest of all, Trevor realized the futility of using his horse in the early stages of the race. He did not move a muscle while cantering along the outer strip of race grass and keeping in touch with the pack. By doing so, he travelled longer than any other horse in this race. But at the same time, Anonymous had an unhampered passage and was always travelling on an even keel. He responded ably to Trevor's call at the bend and came into contention. It was only a question of time thereafter. Anonymous responded further and ran away from Sweet Secret and Next Move. But for an interference towards the inner rails, Next Move could have taken the second spot. He looks capable of picking up a race in lesser company.
Arjun Mangalorkar's Applejack finally emerged from the maiden ranks with a fine performance against a poor lot of opponents. Only eight of them had accepted to run in the lower division of a maidens event over 1400 metres. Padmanabhan trained Pious Lady was the other fancied runner in this race. This well bred filly looked well in the paddock, but performed poorly on the track. After being prominent till the bend, she faded out of contention. This permitted Applejack to win as he liked. John settled him in mid group and rode him for eventual acceleration. Early leaders Prince Of Kintyre, Shivalik Beauty and Allure shot their bolts in the straight. Making his move through the pack, Applejack sailed into an unassailable lead and kept increasing it till he crossed the finishing line. A tired Allure and a late finishing See You Later ambled along to occupy the minor slots. The winner is a good type that could progress to become a good handicapper. Those that finished at the back may take a long time before entering the winner's enclosure.
Three year old Summer's Breeze was lucky to be relegated to the lowest category. After three starts this summer amongst maidens, she was facing a poor lot of horses on Saturday. Ignoring her top weight, as well as a poor draw, the connections were hugely optimistic about her chances and the same was reflected on the betting boards. Those privy to her fine form and physical condition were happy to back her at short odds with the bookmakers. She justified the confidence of the Amit Caddy camp by putting up a near perfect performance. Taking off smoothly from an extreme draw, she travelled comfortably till the bend. Valdir DeSouza kept her away from trouble and made his move towards the outer portion of the track. Hitting the front in the final furlong, she sped away for an easy victory. In a scramble for the minor placings, Perfect Speed and Jeyem's Pride ended ahead of the others.
A fairly ordinary effort in the saddle from N Rajesh led to the downfall of piping hot choice Balance Of Nature in the concluding race of the afternoon. The Prithviraj trainee received strong support in the ring to start as an even-money favourite in this race. The speedy filly, which had been going to the front in a couple of maiden starts over marginally longer trips, was entered in a 1100 metres handicap. Since she was drawn on the inside, it was felt that she would hit the front and assert her superiority. Her low handicap was an added advantage. However, the jockey chose to ride her differently today. He allowed a bunch of no-hopers to move ahead of her, and settled her in eighth spot as the runners approached the bend. With the field spreading out in the straight, Balance Of Nature ducked towards the inner rails. By that time, PS Chouhan and Fire Storm had assumed command of the proceedings. Weaving her way through the pack, the favourite was the fastest moving runner at the finish. She made up much ground, but was still a "neck" behind the Dominic trainee. Balance Of Nature lost a race that she could have won comfortably. With a late bid, All Clear ended a very close third.