• Ruffina wins The Sprinters Cup (Gr.1)
  • Azzurro wins The Dr M A M Ramaswamy Stayers Cup (Gr.1)
  • Whomakestherules wins The Maj P K Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Gr.1)
  • Kangra wins The Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Gr.1) in record timing
By Mahendra Mallya
Sunday 17 Dec 2017
Mr Zeyn Mirza, Mr Jairam G Kimmane & trainer Bharath Singh leading Castlebridge (P Trevor Up), winner of The Jacqueline Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr.1)

Classy colt Castlebridge (Burden of Proof – Castle Queen, Kunigal Stud) galloped to victory in his own style, dictating the terms of the race as he wanted, keeping his rivals at bay and notching up yet another victory, this time pocketing the Jacqueline Indian 2000 Guineas (Gr1) without duress.

Donning Dr Vijay Mallya’s silks, Trevor had to do precious little aboard the Bharat Singh trainee as Castlebridge sailed into the lead soon on start and ambled to the front, always keeping a couple of lengths ahead of the field. That has been his style and none of his opponents even tried to force a change by going to the front and perhaps hope to throw him off guard. There were no surprise moves/tactics and the race was run on expected lines.

Castlebridge forged further ahead once they turned for home and was marching on towards the winning post. Rochester moved up places as did Perfect Star and the two were ridden out hard. Trevor took out his whip approaching the distance post, perhaps to check out the extra gear, keeping the future assignments in mind. But that didn’t seem to be required as neither did he let Castlebridge go at full throttle nor had any challenger lurking. Castlebridge went about his motions and although the margin of victory (1 3/4L) may not have impressed the pundits, for the Castlebridge camp, it was mission accomplished. Despite not going ‘full steam’ Castlebridge clocked a nippy 1:35.820, half a second off Lady in Lace’s 1:36:361 a day earlier. Castlebridge is progressing steadily and on course for bigger glories ahead.

Mr Zeyn Mirza, Managing Director United Racing & Bloodstock Breeders Ltd, was mighty pleased with the outcome. He said, “Castlebridge has proved his class and superiority over the current lot of Classic contenders. He won as expected, but I felt he was still a bit underdone for the Jacqueline 2000 Guineas. His next assignment is the Ruia Cup on January 14th 2018. I am happy with his victory although many would say that a couple of his opponents were seen catching up, but they didn’t, did they? He won unchallenged at any stage. I also learnt that his timing was the best for the course for the ‘round’ course. Mile races used to start from the chute earlier, so I am glad that he recorded the best timing over the circular course for a mile. Of course there are bigger races round the corner the Indian Derby especially, but we are focusing on his next run for the moment. We are taking one step at a time and not looking too far ahead for now. I am confident he will do well in the Ruia as well.”  

Rochester shot his stocks up with a good effort too, finishing less than two lengths behind to be the worthy runner-up. Perfect Star did his cause no harm as he too ran a good race and finished in the money. Bateleur improved positions and rose from the rear to finish in the frame.

Holy Smoke (Phoenix Tower – Little Treasure, Manjri Stud) ran the best run of his life and this brilliant effort saw him rewrite the course record for six furlongs.

Holy Smoke broke through between horses in the straight after settling in fourth until the turn. Dancing Phoenix and Denny Crane were the joint leader turning for home and soon Holy Smoke burst through between the two to lunge forward, perhaps taking Siobhan by surprise. Siobhan was always lurking behind the pair in front and Holy Smoke took the first opportunity he got to make his run. That propelled him ahead of Siobhan and jockey Zervan rode out confidently and deftly to thwart the rising challenge that Siobhan threw at him. Zervan, who was back on the Mahalaxmi track after a long layoff, was splendid in his riding and showed no fear-factor in going for the kill. He kept Holy Smoke ahead as they went for broke towards the wire. Captain Courage too weaved his way between horses to try and fight his way through, but by then Holy Smoke had smoked them all and set the course record with a scintillating performance.

Big Sur (Win Legend – Validate, Dashmesh Stud) continued on his rousing form and galloped to his second successive victory this season, taking his win tally to four overall from nine starts. He bided his time over the 2000m journey and flashed upon the scene as Vulcan and favourite Frivolous were grappling for the lead. Big Sur, with arrived with fiery run and shot past them all with ease. In My Dream, who ran at the rear for most of the journey, put in a good finish to beat the rest, but found Big Sur’s surge tough to match. Frivolous ended a tame third.

Albareto (Western Aristocrat – Daily Edition, Highgrove Stud) carved out another facile victory adding to his maiden win that he notched up just a fortnight back. Considering that his maiden win came over 1200m, Albareto has progressed well to score over the mile this time out.

Jockey YS Srinath focussed more on settling Albareto early than being bothered about being in a forward position hence found himself at the rear end of the field. He judged the pace well and showed confidence in the SS Shah trainee and didn’t hustle him at all until after they turned for home.

Gentillesse made a smooth forward move in the straight to get past the front runners and take the lead with under 400 to go. However, she failed to sustain and bowed out at the business end. Albareto got going past the 400 and made a powerful forward dash to take charge. Gloriosus looked threatening at one stage but jockey S John was never got the chance early on to make a clear run and perhaps lost crucial split-seconds in going full throttle. Albareto had no such issues and he devoured ground majestically and Srinath played his hand well in guiding his mount to secure the back-to-back double. Merveilleuse improved towards the latter half of the stretch and ended a decent third.

Veteran trainer SS Shah had earlier sent out Milwalkee (Diffident – Cozumel, Yerawada Stud) to a well-fought victory thus logging a maiden win for the filly on her 15th attempt. Padmakosa led them into the straight with Royal Ace, Galtero and Milwalkee close behind.

Into the straight, Royal Ace shot ahead but had Milwalkee on his haunches. Royal Ace resisted all along but in the final moments apprentice Zeeshan with a five kilo allowance used the advantage to the hilt. Milwalkee won narrowly and Royal Ace just lost out after looking prominent for most of the way. Magic Dust was the one who caught the eye, finishing on from the rear and improving positions, ticking off many one by one to end a good third and not too far behind the pair in front.

Excellent Gold (Excellent Art – Only For Gold, Poonawalla Astonish Stud) has gotten going after his first two starts and now has three wins from five outings. He ended the Pune Season with two victories and opened his Mumbai campaign on a winning note.

Slam Dunk brought the field in with Miss Moneypenny right behind, Fabio was there but faded away and Makino was trying to slip in through the rails. Excellent Gold then joined the front bunch and quickened at the right juncture to surge ahead approaching the distance post. Once in the lead, jockey Dashrath Singh rode out deftly to steer clear of the rest. Excellent Gold galloped on relentlessly keeping a safe distance from the fast finishing An Jolie. Miss Moneypenny did well to finish in the money, while Bounty Queen improved along the rails to find a place in the frame.

Silver Locket (Mull of Kintyre – Mull of Fire, Bhaktawar Stud) rocketed away in the final stages to spring a surprise winning readily at longer odds. She was stalking the early leader Fundamental Right and started her chase in the straight. Fundamental Right fought hard until into the final furlong, however, Silver Locket got the measure of her rival in the last 100 m and drew away to compile a memorable debut win by three lengths. Masar ended close behind Fundamental Right to finish third.

The last two races went to trainer SK Sunderji and both winners were well-backed as well. Yutaka (Varenar – Concept, Equus Stud) achieved his maiden victory on the day and he had shown signs he was ready for it in his last outing.

Yutaka, ridden by Trevor, settled in fourth until the turn and made steady progress on turning for home. Allegria led them into the straight but faded out. Ame led briefly and soon was overpowered by Yutaka who was working up good pace on crossing the 400m mark. Yutaka sailed smoothly ahead and accelerated nicely to go away from his rivals. Yutaka won by a healthy margin without encountering any challenge. Ame hung around to end runner up while Smart Vision managed to pip Sail Past for place money. Royal Blood disappointed.

Ascension (Phoenix Tower – Wedded Woman, Manjri Stud) also put up a strong finishing display to blunt the budding challenge from favourite Rishab’s Pet. Ascension and Nextstar turned for home jointly leading them and after a few strides, Ascension surged ahead to take charge. Rishab’s Pet made a strong bid from the inside and Sporto too was making his presence felt. Ascension however, held her ground with young R Ajinkya riding his heart out to ensure a fine victory for the Sunderji ward.

For the professionals, trainers SS Shah and SK Sunderji saddled a double each, while jockeys P Trevor and Dashrath Singh scored a double each.