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By Ikram Khan
Thursday 13 Sep 2018
Trainer M Eshwer leading London (P P Dhebe Up), winner of The Maharaja's Cup (Gr.3)

The inconsistency of Prevalent Force from Darius Byramji's yard, beating the best one day and losing to much lesser ranked rivals next day, continues to cost the followers of form dear. After winning from his maiden start this season, Prevalent Force was considered a cinch in the prestigious Maharaja's Cup, the plum event run over a mile on Thursday. But much to the disappointment of the railbirds, who considered him a `moral certainty' the on-money favourite piloted by leading pro Srinath performed like a dud and even failed to save place money. Last start winner London from Michael Eshwer's yard shocked the racing buffs producing a sparkling gallop in the hands of Prashanth Dhebe to emerge the new Maharaja. The Chennai hopeful Cavallo Veloce piloted by Akshay Kumar gained the runner-up berth ahead of Ultimate Warrior while Prevalent came home a poor fourth. The performance of the on-money favourite was a big shock to most big bettors but that's how Prevalent Force has been performing in the last one year, top of the big pack on his day and bottom of the pile the next day.

Trainer Rakesh started the day, leading the winners in the first two events. Second in demand at the betting ring, Imitation Game waltzed to victory snuffing out the challenge of Perfecto in the opening event, the Haveri Plate run over a mile and rankoutsider Savannah Sound dropped a bombshell in the next event the Nagaland Plate run over a mile.

Anteros was the overwhelming favourite in the opening event but the public choice failed to display his true potential for more reasons than one and eventually finished a tame fourth. Perfecto, who appears to be in good form gained the runner-up berth ahead of Momotaro.The winner appears in good nick and it will pay to again bet on this Rakesh ward when next saddled.

The Irfan Ghatala schooled Dr Logan was the on-money favourite in the Nagaland Plate but all that the public rage did was take a lot of good money down the drain finishing second behind the shock winner Savannah Sound. This is the second Irfan ward who has failed to justify favouritism this season, Automatic performing below par earlier this season. Bonfire caught the eye while finishing third ahead of Yellowstone who like Prevalent Force is never consistent.

The talented Prashanth Dhebe who was struggling to boot home winners in the last season before he sustained an injury and was out of action for more than three months finally broke the ice booting home the public choice Jersey Bride in the Shimsha Plate before he partnered London in the big event, The well supported Jersey Bride from Shravanan's yard displayed good turn of foot in the straight to win in emphatic fashion while suggesting that she is capable of repeating the act. The moody Vroom Vroom took the second spot ahead of Velvet Rose while Kickback came home fourth without really extending himself.

In line to record a treble, Rakesh completed the `trick' through the favourite Oceanic Storm in the Udhagamandalam Trophy, the principal added attraction in the seven-event card. On form Oceanic Storm looked the best in the field of nine runners and he readily justified favouritism in the hands of Umesh who is enjoying his partnership with Rakesh. The in-form El Tycoon did well again to grab the runner-up berth ahead of Color Proof.

A bet on Safe Bet from Shravanan's yard proved unsafe in the upper division of the Shimsha Plate, the public choice failing to match strides with winner Dr.Scully piloted by Mumbai-based pro Amyn Merchant. The winner on the strength of this victory looks set to provide an encore.

Leading trainer M Bobby and his supporters strongly fancied Contributor to gallop to fame in the concluding event, the Ranganathittu Plate run over a sprint and the game galloper did just that in the hands of Prabhakaran, pegging back the eight to one shot Markus Sittikus in effortless style. Domitia impressed most while finishing a game third. The winner will surprise many if he fails to register his second straight victory next time out.