Deputizing Trainer R V Gowli Leading Misschevious Trot (N S Parmar Up), winner of The Hilliard Cup
Though quite a few favourites fell by the wayside on Sunday, the two youngsters who were the cynosure of all eyes – Iverness and Malpensa – made no mistake in their respective events.
In the earlier days, The Hilliard Cup was considered a prestigious sprint which acted as a pointer to the Calcutta Gold Cup in December. Though steeped in tradition, Sunday’s field of seven for this once-glorified event belied expectations. The fact that the race was won by eight-year-old Misschevious Trot (Storm Trooper-Puzia) from Imtiaz Sait’s stable, speaks for itself. The favourite Batista seemed in a hurry to get the formalities over with but lacked the necessary stamina for a seven-furlong sprint. Parmar atop Sait’s ward was on the front-runner’s flank at the top of the straight despite a slow get-off and eventually prevailed by a neck from the fast finishing Mesmerizer.
The mile race for the Horendro Kristo Memorial Cup saw a strong field of 14 runners, with the on-money favourite Malpensa (Hurricane State-Northern Frontier) drawn on the extreme outside. Jockey Sandesh gradually improved the grey from Bharath Singh’s yard to be in close touch with the front-runners at the top of the straight. Thereafter, he sailed away for a facile triumph. It was left to rank outsider Rocket Ball to fill up the runner-up berth.
Three-year-old Charlemagne reared up and threw his rider Trevor Patel as the gates opened in the Stand Off Handicap. Running riderless near the head of the field, the gelding caused some concern to S. Zervan atop the favourite Iverness, who was tracking Il Bronzino. Zervan however displayed considerable calm to negotiate the unforeseen hindrance without batting an eyelid. Habbu-trained Iverness (Mull Of Kintyre-Bravissima) won the race impressively enough to suggest that she will be a live threat in the 1000 Guineas later this month.
Jockey Imran Chisty failed to make it to the city and was replaced on all his mounts by other riders present during the afternoon. Both divisions of the Pure Gold Handicap were bagged by Patrick Quinn-trained runners. The upper division saw seven-year-old Devilitto (Black Cash-Zografi) return a winner after losing some ground at the start. Jockey F Da Silva, who replaced Chisty atop the Ajay Jalan-owned runner, was seen at his best in the final furlong, as he grabbed the race from ‘maiden’ apprentice Kishen Singh (atop All That Jazz) at the wire. The disappointment in the race was the favourite Passport who displayed some early speed before fading out Da Silva and Quinn combined fruitfully to complete their double with on-money public choice Pirateer (Major Impact-Enticer). The three-year-old was ridden judiciously to land the spoils from Fankaar and Al Di La who were both a little too close for comfort. However, in the final 100 metres Da Silva showed that he had something in reserve and refused to be hurried by pesky rivals.
Javed Khan-trained Super Hero (Alnasr Alwasheek-Thanks A Lot) finally came good after a few failures during the monsoon. The top-weight (another from Jalan’s stable) shot out of the 12th draw like a scalded cat and was kept going in the crucial final hundred metres by a determined Harish while the inevitable challenge came from recent winner Royal Saga. The utter failure of Cerise crushed punters who had backed her. She never appeared to be in it.
Trainer Manvendra Singh pulled off a fine victory with Chalaque(Diamond Green-Les Affaires) who was having his first ever outing – that too over a mile. The property of Dr Vijay Mallya was given a smart ride by Trevor Patel as he took the inner rails while the front-running Incanto Bliss drifted out after the turning for home. Both Classical Romance and Shivalik Shakti were outpaced by the front-runner.
Bharath Singh-trained Saisoku (Inner City-Factual) came out of the maiden ranks by getting the better of Promises To Keep in the Dalkeith Handicap, the opening event. It was Trevor’s superior positioning of the chestnut filly which did the trick as a late finishing ‘Promises’ found the leeway a little out of her reach.