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Unlucky Ciel Indienne Done in by Harsh Decision

By Mahendra Mallya | 08 Aug 2010 | PUNE


Ciel Indienn originally won the Dr. F D Wadia Trophy on the race track overcoming a tough fight despite the jockey losing his whip. This was a fiercely contested race with the entire field huddled closely all the way like a school of fish swimming in perfect sync. Supreme Force was at the helm with Ashwa Parth in the middle and Ciel Indienne working his way alongside.

The smart work thus far of jockey Sampson further came in handy as he had a clear turf ahead with Ciel Indienne too responding well at the top of the straight. Once in the lead, and with a little over a furlong to go, jockey Sampson or for that matter any jockey would focus on dashing towards the winning post, giving it all he has and leaving nothing to chance. Remember, Sampson was also at a disadvantage of having lost his whip.

There was no way he would be aware that another horse, read Su Chaliyo, would confront him from his inside. It was not as if Ciel Indienne was racing too far away from the inner rails either, at any stage. There was only a tempting gap, which jockeys all over the world leave deliberately to bait the suckers who fall for it. Sampson was not even guilty of this ploy as the stewards themselves deemed it ’accidental’.

Ciel Indienne held on to win the race by three quarters of a length from Su Chaliyo who undoubtedly received a check at a crucial stage. Now, let’s look at Su Chalilyo’s attempt. When the race came to a boil, Su Chaliyo was making rapid progress and with about 300m to go, Stephane had to make a split second decision, that would have a bearing on the outcome. He had two options: to risk going for the rails or take the normally safer route from the outside of Ciel Indienne.

On seeing the replay repeatedly I am absolutely certain that there was enough gap for Stephane to make his bid from between Ciel Indienne and Star Warrior. As it panned out, Stephane obviously blundered in taking the risky way through. He definitely had enough space to go between Ciel Indienne and Star Warrior. This, in fact, had a lot more bearing on the result of the race than the moderate drift of Ciel Indienne.

No doubt, Ciel Indienne drifted inwards, Su Chaliyo received a check, and accepted, that Su Chaliyo gained on Ciel Indienne with a rerun.

Nevertheless, was it not Stephane who opted to squeeze through? Was he not equally guilty of an error in judgement? Was Ciel Indienne’s inward drift sudden or absolutely wayward that he solely was responsible for Su Chaliyo to receive the fatal check? Was Sampson guilty of deliberately closing the gap and causing the check? The Stewards had limited time to make their decision and ruled to take the race away from Ciel Indienne. However, was it the best decision? To take away a nobly fought race from the winner? Your guess is as good as mine.