• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Kingfisher Ultra Derby Bangalore (Gr.1)
  • Desert God wins The Tetrasoft Inc. Bangalore St. Leger (Gr.2)
“LADIES’ MAN” JAMES MCKEOWN WAS EXCEPTION-AL
KOLKATA
By Epsom Ace
Saturday 08 Sep 2018
Trainer J E Mckeown leading Exception (Hindu Singh Up), winner of The Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes

Though having a lean season thus far, British trainer James McKeown stood up and got counted when it mattered most on Saturday. His three-year-old filly Exception performed exceptionally well to pocket the Fillies Trial Stakes, while his four-year-old filly Occitan left her rivals standing with an amazing turn of foot to bag the Silverina Cup. What was even more creditable was that both winners were piloted by local youngster Hindu Singh. The fact that Mckeown did not opt for any of the big names among visiting jockeys shows his admirable confidence in the local lad and himself.

The winner Exception (Western Aristocrat – Edessya) had a single uninspiring outing in January and was the lowest rated filly in the field of five. Aided by a mock race earlier in the season, Exception and her jockey sailed past front-running 12/10 favourite Aashna midway up the straight after a couple of reminders. Mckeown’s modus operandi must have left quite a few of his peers in awe of him. It was a miserable performance from the favourite and highest rated filly who finished dead last. Her stablemate Venezia was withdrawn on veterinary grounds. The Hyderabad challenger and second favourite Miss Lily seemed to be totally outclassed in this field.

The day started with trainer Harvinder Singh Bath breaking his duck for the season with a fine victory with Mrs Willy Nilly (Colonel John-Willow Point). This was apprentice RS Bhati’s second win on the filly. Lying a handy third behind the favourite Dakshesh and Royal One, Mrs Willy Nilly shot ahead in the straight to win convincingly.

Trevor Patel left nothing to chance when he took Arti Doctor-trained Prancing Queen to the head of the field as the gates opened before permitting Artificial a run up front. Once into the straight, the filly by Pinson out of Premier Queen galloped resolutely and staved off a fair challenge from Tiberon.

The Immaculate Handicap saw Shafiq Khan-trained Bang Bang (Stardan-Ballad Of Glory) shoot down his younger rivals without much ado. While Shy Belle was slow into stride as she is wont to be, favourite Malana was poorly handled other than which she may have turned the tables. Though some money came on Millennium Glory, she ran a lacklustre race.

Occitan’s victory was truly spectacular as she appeared to be out of the equation as Shivalik Story and Gloaming fought for supremacy. Mckeown had maintained the filly in tip-top condition after her three outings during the Bangalore Summer meeting and her stupendous gallop in the final furlong proved that beyond any reasonable doubt.

 Raunak Banerji-trained Joss (Arazan-Sprungli) won the mile race for the Star Pefection Handicap without any tense moments for his backers. With this victory apprentice-turned-full jockey Nikhil Naidu extended his useful lead at the top of the jockey’s championship table. The boy however has further scope for improvement and is likely to be one of the top riding talents at this centre in the near future. Joss took the lead in the straight but drifted out under the stick which was in Naidu’s right hand. Fortunately, Rufus was a couple of lengths behind and switched course. Joss however was galloping to victory quite smoothly.

Trainer Vikash Jaiswal brought the day’s events to a close with a thumping victory with his seven-year-old El Cid (Noverre-Dansiyma). Bottom-weight Smith and Wesson was the best of the rest.