• Lady In Lace wins The Golconda 1000 Guineas (Gr.2)
  • Sana wins The Calcutta 1000 Guineas (Gr.3)
AQUITANIA PULLS OFF A HARD-EARNED TRIUMPH
KOLKATA
By Epsom Ace
Saturday 12 Aug 2017
Mr Waahiid Ali Khan & trainer P Quinn leading Aquitania (A Imran Khan Up), winner of The Swatantrata Cup

Punters at RCTC had good reason to rejoice on Saturday despite the murky weather and gloomy atmosphere.  Several well-backed winners by saddle kings Christopher Alford and Imran Khan ensured a happy start to the weekend for local railbirds.

Trainer Patrick Quinn completed a well-deserved hat-trick with So Regal, Aquitania and Spear Of Trium. Aquitania notched up a hard-earned victory to lift The Swatantrata Cup. Jockey A Imran Khan had to pull out all stops to get the best out of the recently acquired property of Waahid Ali Khan and his co-owners.  The filly by Admiralofthefleet out of Rhapsody In Blue (Kunigal Stud) raised a good gallop in the home stretch to peg back the strong challenge of front-running Star One close home. The first of Quinn’s three successes was recent winner So Regal with apprentice Nikhil Naidu in the saddle. The sprinter by Opportunist out of Regal Notes (NewApproach Stallion Station) made every post of the lower division of the Imperial Stride Handicap a winning one. The other two fancied runners Archivolt and Zara Go Zara failed to match strides with the winner who was galloping smoothly throughout the sharp trip of six furlongs.

Quinn completed his highly successful day at the office when he led in Spear Of Trium in the day’s final event. Like So Regal, he too produced an encore. Jockey Imran Khan astride the six-year-old by Diffident out of Queen Of Hearts (Yeravada Stud) was on a start to finish mission but was collared in the home stretch by well-backed Simran’s Choice. However, the game galloper from Quinn’s yard showed that he had a big heart as well, as he came back with a second wind to edge out the top-weight at the wire. An elated Imran Khan acknowledged the cheers of his followers by raising his whip as he crossed the post.

Joining Imran in the day’s honours list was local lad Christopher Alford who too rode a brace. Alford’s winners were the well backed pair of Mocha Loca and Shy Belle, trained by Arti and Aashay Doctor respectively. The Steal The Glory Plate saw two runners in the betting – Simon Templar and the 12/10 favourite Mocha Loca (Western Aristocrat – Hoofbeats/ Yeravada ). The filly was ridden judiciously by Alford to land the spoils with a degree of comfort. Following pace-setter Isabelline till the 600m marker, Mocha Loca shot ahead, hotly pursued by Simon Templar. However, the filly was undoubtedly moving the better of the two and she thus notched up her maiden victory. Simon Templar was heavily under Dashrath’s whip and eventually lost the runner-up berth to top-weight Mercedes.

Alford completed his brace with a hard-earned victory astride Shy Belle (Diffident-Striking Beauty/ Yeravada Stud). The sprinter was another who recorded back-to-back wins early in the season. In a three-way contest which saw Mustang and Kaartiken piling on the pressure at the wire, Alford kept his nerve and rode out the filly hands-and-heels in the final furlong to land the spoils. It was a noteworthy effort from the local champion jockey.

Jockey Dashrath Singh too made merry and joined his reputed peers with a well-planned, even if a little unusual victory astride Bharath Singh-trained Shohin (Declaratio Of War – Aptiana/ Lingwood Stud). Dashrath opened a long break of ten lengths or so in the 1800m race for The Elistano Handicap before allowing the colt a breather near the 800m marker. The second favourite Mariska was permitted to come within a length of the front-runner before Dashrath stepped on the gas pedal once again and pulled away from the field.  Despite drifting to the outer rails, Shohin spared over five lengths to Matiska at the wire. The sole winner of the day who won at fairly long odds of 8/1 was Vikash Jaswal-trained Ivy (Stardan-Alohambra/ Rolli Stud) in the curtain-raiser. The Vikash Jaiswal-trained filly was taken to the front by brother Vinay and she stayed there all the way. Fancied runners Bournville and Roman Ridges were simply run off their feet by the jolly front-runner who had quite obviously come to hand after her last forward effort.