Indian Bolt (PS Chouhan Up), winner of The V.T.Velu Memorial Cup
The modestly bred Indian Bolt defied the handicapper yet again by posting a fourth successive victory at the Bangalore races on Thursday. After remaining unsuccessful for over a year, this Inayathulla trainee had won his first race this season in class III. In less than two months, he progressed to the highest category and scored a thrilling victory in The VT Velu Memorial on the penultimate day of the Bangalore Summer Season 2012.. What is noteworthy is the fact that his last three wins have been achieved in identical fashion. On all these occasions, he came with a determined bid in the final furlong and managed to score near the winning post.It was no different today. There is no doubt that he will become the "horse of the season" this summer.The day's feature, a seven furlong handicap for horses rated 80 and above, had attracted some useful horses. Apart from Indian Bolt, runners like Tiberius, Atlantus and Kyles Of Bute had been running fairly well in recent months. Since Tiberius was receiving chunks of weight from the others, he was installed as a favourite in morning trade. However, some spirited betting on Atlantus saw this top weighted runner starting as a firm favourite at race time. After a few starts under a whip less apprentice, the Sharat Kumar trained horse was now being partnered by Suraj Narredu. Indian Bolt and Kyles Of Bute had stray support in the betting rings.
A roar greeted the start of this race. With a slow beginning, Tiberius had lost all his chances at the gates. The rest of the runners were quick to get down to business. Rank-outsider Sunstone shot to the front and made his own pace ahead of Valahak and Indian Bolt. Kyles Of Bute and Love Conquers All settled in mid group, while Atlantus graced the rear. The field was fairly spread out and the order remained the same as they turned for home. Selvaraj pulled out his stick and asked Sunstone to quicken. The brave chestnut responded nicely, hugged the rails and charged towards the winning post. Valahak and Indian Bolt raced within striking distance of the leader, while the others were already beaten at this stage. Even near the distance post, it seemed as though we were going to witness a massive upset. However, PS Chouhan had other ideas. He kept goading Indian Bolt with all his power, and managed to collar Sunstone on the last stride. It was a fine effort from a brave horse. Valahak ended a very close third. The winner has continued to dazzle race goers with his fine performances, and trainer Inayathulla must be complimented for doing such a fine job with this five year old .On the other hand, Atlantus ran one of his poorest races in recent times.
Chouhan had already won the day's opener astride Darius Byramji's Abarth. This three year old had flopped twice in the lowest category this season, and was therefore, unfancied today. With one-sided support flowing in the direction of Dhariwal's Ultimate Desire, she started as an odds-on choice of the punters. Since she had done nothing of note thus far, it was difficult to comprehend such support. Even her paddock looks failed to inspire confidence, as Ultimate Desire is a very light framed filly. Trevor gave her every chance to win, but she just wasn't good enough to do so. Chasing Delilah till the bend, she tried her best to move forward. With PS Chouhan and Abarth making a determined bid towards the inner railings, she had a job on her hands. Both Trevor and Chouhan rode vigorously till the wire. Abarth found his neck in front of the favourite at the all important end. Serengeti made up a lot of ground in the final furlong and ended within touching distance of the first two finishers. Actually, she was the most impressive runner in this race.
Dominic trained Stellar Ambition could have credited Chouhan with his third winner of the afternoon and allowed him to enjoy a slender advantage over Trevor, but that was not to be. The half-money favourite came to a halt in the closing stages of a Class III handicap and surrendered tamely to Raphire's onslaught. For the second time in a row this season, Raphire scored as a rank outsider. This colt, bred at The Nakul Stud Farm, has proved to be quite versatile. After a start-to-finish effort over a sprint in his previous start, he played the waiting game today. Vivek kept this Inayathulla trainee at the back till the final turn and made his move only after they had straightened for home. With a couple of fluent strides, he moved through the pack and joined Stellar Ambition. A panic-stricken Chouhan tried to evoke a little more response from Stellar Ambition, but it was missing. In a bobbing of heads, Raphire got up in time to nail the leader. Meghalaya and Carducci finished at regular intervals to take the minor placings.
Trainer Padmanabhan consolidated his position at the top of the trainer's championship by adding another three points to his tally. He scored this treble through State Secret, Art Of Enchantment and Provocateur. Both State Secret and Art Of Enchantment allowed jockey Sandesh to enjoy an armchair ride to victory. State Secret had run only twice this season. A sixth in the Juvenile Million and a fifth in the Fillies Championship behind Vijay's Pride were her best efforts. She was making her debut in "open" class on Thursday. Barring Cecil, her opponents looked very poor. Sandesh took her to the front and ran the opponents off their feet. A feeble effort from Cecil enabled him to take the runner-up berth. Ibelieveinmiracles and Formula One fought a spirited battle for the third spot.
The win astride Art Of Enchantment was achieved by adopting contrasting tactics. This filly looked poor when she had run for the first time this season. That was way back in June. One was pleasantly surprised to see her looking much better in the parade ring on this occasion. The two month rest had done her a world of good. She had furnished during this time. Her shining coat indicated that she was in fine condition. The only question that remained was about her abilities. She answered the same with a smashing performance on the race track. Sandesh was content to hold her back for a major portion of their trip. The lead changed hands a number of times in the straight, but once Art Of Enchantment went ahead, the race was over. Her final burst of speed enabled her to win by a widening margin from Shivalik Fire and Chiron. Karthik Ganapathy's Shivalik Pride ran poorly to figure off the frame. This recently acquired colt may score over a shorter trip after his return to Pune.
A pair of quick wins enabled Trevor to complete his personal double on Thursday. This ensured that going into the last day of the season on Friday, both he and Chouhan would be tied in first place. A chance ride on Padmanbhan's Provocateur was his first success. A mile and a quarter handicaps for horses rated 20-45 attracted only five participants. Provocateur had been beaten by Entertainer over a marginally shorter trip a few weeks ago. Since the weights favoured Provocateur today, he was fancied ahead of the others. Some spirited betting on Arjun Mangalorkar's Applejack, saw this colt starting as a joint favourite in this race. Provocateur followed Super Spectacle for a brief while before taking over the running. Trevor nursed him to the front and asked him to quicken. Entertainer ranged alongside, and with Suraj pulling out his stick, the two of them were almost inseparable near the distance post. It was at this stage that the relative weights made a difference. Provocateur started to expand his slender advantage and was nearly a length clear at the finish. Applejack and Zermatt made up late ground to finish besides the leaders. Applejack showed that he could perform better under a stronger rider.
Suleiman Attaollahi's Showin'off made a smashing debut while pocketing The Leading Bookmaker Cup. This sprint for maiden three year olds had a firm favourite in a small made filly from the Padmanabhan yard. Petite Fleur was the fourth runner from this leading stable to be fancied during the afternoon. Her late finishing third over a scurry on debut was considered to be good enough by the railbirds. Despite her tiny frame, they felt that this well-bred specimen would improve after that run. The got-abroad Showin'off was almost twice her size. While Petit Fleur was tardy at the start, Showin'off stormed out of the gates. She tracked Smithsonite before making her final move near the two furlong marker. Displaying splendid acceleration, Showin'off ran like a seasoned campaigner. She lengthened her strides and went away from Smithsonite and a late finishing Petit Fleur. The winner is a speedy type with a bright future, and she was given an immaculate ride by Trevor today.
The other two races in the nine event card were claimed by Suraj Narredu. Even though he is two points behind Trevor and Chouhan, he is refusing to give up without a fight. After a number of runner-up berths earlier in the card, he scored back-to-back victories in the seventh and eighth race of the day. Sirajuddin's Impressive Bolt had ended second to An Acquired Taste in his last start. The fact that the winner had subsequently cantered away with the last "Million" race of the season, enhanced his chances in this race. On paper, both Boudicca and Forest Spirit looked like formidable opponents, but their rare appearances on the training track, diminished their chances. Boudicca made a strong bid from the word "go", but was found wanting in the straight. Impressive Bolt came with raking strides and skipped clear of the leader. Suraj rode him in copybook fashion, and helped him score an overdue victory. Forest Spirit appeared late to displace Boudicca from the second spot.
Suraj's ride astride Sharat Kumar's Atlas Power was quite praiseworthy. The six year old had received a stiff penalty for an earlier victory, and was seen conceding weight to most of the runners on promotion. In comparison, horses like Lads Gladiator and Make My Day looked well placed. Smart Exotic led this group of fourteen and brought them into view. A couple of horses caught one's attention near the bend. After losing precious ground at the start, Lads Gladiator moved the best at this stage. He skirted the front-runners and marched ahead of the others. The yellow jersey of Atlas Power was equally prominent. Suraj had kept him right next to Lads Gladiator and made his move at the same juncture. Because of some fine assistance from the saddle, Atlas Power got up in the nick of time to beat Lads Gladiator near the winning post. A totally unfancied Talisker came through a packed field to take the third spot.