Mr. Zeyn Mirza receiving The K. N. Chennabasappa Memorial Cup from Mr. K C Sudharshan
The KN Chennabasappa Memorial Cup, a mile handicap for horses rated 80 and above, highlighted a small card of seven events on Thursday at Bangalore. With the season crawling to an end, the fields are beginning to become smaller and smaller. Only eight runners accepted to run in the day's feature. Winner picking looked difficult as none of these horses came into this race with strong credentials. Top weighted Atlantus had figured on board in all his starts this season. His chances diminished because he had been assigned a back-breaking weight by the handicapper. The presence of an apprentice and the fact that he was trying to tackle an extended trip after a fairly long time, were the other points that were considered by the punters. String Along had beaten some quality horses last year, but her present form was far from encouraging. A late bid had permitted her to end in the vicinity of Lovely Kiss, Speed Six and Maddox a few weeks ago. Even though she was carrying a much higher burden today, she received fair support in the betting ring. The one that was backed down to marginal favouritism at race time was Sriram Komandur's Far From Over. This mare had impressed while ending fourth behind Magnitude Star, Hills And Stars and Volterra. Since she had tackled the nine furlongs easily on that occasion, the present mile was considered to be well within her compass. The bottom-weighted five year old was being partnered by an in-form PS Chouhan in this race. Suleiman Attaollahi's Crown Empress had ended way behind Far From Over that day, and as the relative weights remained more or less the same, she was ignored from a betting perspective.
The eight of them took off to a level start. Trevor eased Crown Empress into an early lead and showed the way to Astounding Gallop, String Along and Spark Of Silver. Atlantus and Far From Over lacked early speed and this saw them trailing the pack, as they tackled the rising ground near the three furlong marker. With none of the others making a serious bid from the back, Crown Empress enjoyed her solitude in front and led into the straight. The chasing pack came under pressure and began to spread across the track. String Along edged closer with each stride as they moved towards the winning post. Far From Over found late foot through the middle of the field and moved forward. It was clear that we were headed for a thrilling finish, and that is exactly what happened. Under some relentless pressure from Trevor, Crown Empress lasted out to hold Far From Over and String Along at the wire. Less than half a length separated the three of them.
With an easy victory astride Padmanabhan's Chase The Sun, Trevor completed a double for the afternoon. He was in third place behind Chouhan and Suraj in the jockey's tally at the beginning of the day, but this pair of winners saw him jumping ahead of his colleagues. With only a point separating the three of them, race goers can look forward to some intense competition in this championship. Three year old Chase The Sun was the shortest priced favourite in today's card, and the filly justified the confidence of her supporters. Trevor was content to hold her back till they reached the final bend. She overtook Another Destiny and Speedy Girl with ease and wasn't unduly extended while skipping clear of them. Absolut Grey made up much ground towards the outer portion of the track to take the third spot behind Speedy Girl. The winner looks like a top class sprinter, and her trainer is sure to exploit her potential.
A fine hat-trick by the Amit Caddy stable in the first three races on Thursday, was the highlight of the afternoon. Royal Admiral, who had flopped as a favourite in a similar race a couple of weeks ago, was once again the first choice of the punters. The three year old had been tested over a mile, and since Amit had chosen to run him over the same trip once again, it was felt that the trainer knew what he was doing. Satish Narredu's One From A Billion was equally supported at race time. Royal Admiral cruised behind Peppr, and Valdir DeSouza had a tough time holding him back any further. The top weight was given his head near the bend and he shot clear of the pack. Despite being eased up in the final stages of this race, he managed to finish well ahead of Smokehead and an exhausted Peppr. One From A Billion is a poor specimen, and it will be a good idea to stay away from him in his future assignments.
The next race was quite eventful. Darius trained Adalwin, who had caused a stunning upset in an earlier start, was a marginal favourite ahead of Amit Caddy's Ibelieveinmiracles. The betting charts indicated that the finish would be confined to the two market leaders. The race began in normal fashion. Royal Spirit spurted to the front and set a good pace ahead of Strive And Serve and Ibelieveinmiracles. Adalwin was tucked away on the rails in fourth, while Sicily ran a detached last. The scene altered marginally as they began taking the rising ground near the 600 metre marker. Royal Spirit was joined on his haunches by Ibelieveinmiracles. Strive And Serve hugged the rails in third while Adalwin came under pressure to retain his fourth spot. Vaideeshwaran looked back at this stage and lost control on the leader. Royal Spirit moved dangerously outwards and took Ibelieveinmiracles along with him. Valdir DeSouza had no choice but to keep moving towards the sand track. In a desperate move to save himself from getting into serious trouble, he used his whip and gave a crack to the horse on his inside. In a chain reaction, he hit Vaideeshwaran accidentally. By the time he could extricate himself from this mess and move forward, the race was over. Strive And Serve had been nailed on the winning post by Amit Caddy's other runner in this race named Sicily. In the hands of Tauseef, this last outing winner made up much ground from the last position and won the last stride. Adalwin had apparently suffered from a sprain in this race. Ibelieveinmiracles made up acres of ground in the straight and ended a fast finishing third. There was a mild protest from the backers of Ibelieveinmiracles after the race. There is no doubt that had Vaideeshwaran not hampered his passage, the mount of Valdir DeSouza would have won this race. The Stewards held an enquiry at the end of the day. Trainer B Puttanna accepted that the saddle on Royal Spirit had shifted and that his apprentice had lost control on the colt. Vaideeshwaran escaped without a fine, while in an unprecedented move, Valdir DeSouza was fined Rs 25,000 and suspended for a period of three months. On the face of it, this is an extremely harsh penalty for an act that was neither intentional nor financially motivated.
Notwithstanding the distractions of what happened in the earlier race, DeSouza was a picture of supreme confidence while piloting One Time Magic to an easy victory. The bottom weighted runner showed a clean pair of heels to his eight rivals. In the hands of a lesser rider, One Time Magic had ended a fair fourth to Yourewindsofchange. The latter had defied a stiff penalty to repeat on promotion. There was no reason why One Time Magic would not win today. The even-money favourite overtook Migrolino near the distance post and won as he liked. No Doubt and Blue Star were better than the others. The winning time was as good as any that we have seen this season. These three winners enabled Amit Caddy to climb into second spot in the trainers tally.
The other two races in the day went to Pradeep Annaiah and his jockey Vivek. A seven furlong race, for horses five years old and over in Class IV, saw a number of entrants. Since these age group races are quite rare in a season, trainers wait for them to happen. Pradeep had entered both The First Bullet and Attractor in this event. Since the race was divided, he had a runner in both the divisions. The confidence of the trainer was reflected on the betting boards. The two of them were backed down from higher odds to start as even-money favourites. To the delight of his camp, both succeeded in their mission. The First Bullet never gave a chance to his rivals while making every post a winning one. A Game To Remember chased him for a while before calling it a day. Inspirator appeared late on the scene to end a tame third. The winner looked nice in the paddock and performed on expected lines.
The victory of Attractor was quite laboured. Vivek chose to travel alongside early leader Hamsafar till straightening for home, and made his final bid thereafter. Attractor took his time to go ahead and went marginally inwards. PS Chouhan and Mystere made their move towards the rails at the same juncture. It took Chouhan a while to get into his mount as their was a mild traffic problem. Mystere moved threateningly close to Attractor and engaged the favourite in a serious duel. To the relief of Pradeep's followers, Attractor managed to retain his slender advantage till he crossed the winning post. An expected objection was launched by PS Chouhan, but since the interference was accidental and marginal, Attractor was allowed to retain his prize.