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Arts Smashes Top-class Opposition with Panache

By Mahendra Mallya | 01 Aug 2010 | PUNE

Trainer C D Katrak leading Arts (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The McDowell Signature Turf Club Trophy Grade-III

Trainer Cooji Katrak claimed top honours on Sunday winning three races which included the McDowell Signature Turf Club Trophy (GR3), the main event of the day. Arts (Ontario - Shanley) who was quoted at seven to one in the betting ring in what looked a very open race, reproduced the scintillating run of her last start and won in a most convincing fashion. The start was delayed slightly as Running Bull buckled in the stalls.

All the horses that were loaded were then taken out and an ambulance had to be called to clear Running Bull off the turf who apparently had fractured one of his hind legs. Running Bull, however, was later put to rest. As the field of 15 charged out the gates, Portrush rushed to the front closely followed by Spirituall. Beyond Belief matched strides briefly then fell back even before the bend. Forest Flair, Arts and Juventus were closely bunched, not too far from the leaders.

The rest were closely huddled as they galloped past the 600. Portrush came in home first with Spirituall hot on his heels. Arts slipped in from the rails and produced a dazzling gallop that proved too good for her rivals and sailed into a sizable lead which turned out to be too much for the others to cover. Arts looked the winner even before they crossed the distance post. Spirituall was the next best doing well to pip Portrush for the second slot.

Astral Flash covered a lot of ground and ran on to figure in the frame finishing just ahead of Cabriolet. The rest were a trifle rusty, but will surely run into form sooner than later. Jockey Ladjadj Stephane provided an eye-popping incident astride Tequila in the Hurricane Plate. Although he won the race impressively, the Stewards held an enquiry, following which Tequila was disqualified and Cloud Cover was awarded the race.

Just past the 1000m-marker jockey Neeraj Rawal’s saddle slipped. Soon thereafter Ittakestwototango drifted outward almost onto Tequila. Ladjadj Stephane impulsively jutted his right hand out and started to push Neeraj forcefully out of his way, back towards the inner rails. The action was as serious as it was comical and many agreed that they had not seen anything like this on a racetrack. Stephane’s explanation was that he was only trying to stay his ground and that he had not touched Neeraj.

However, the Stewards did not buy that line and deemed that it was foul riding on his part; they disqualified Tequila as a consequence of his foul riding. The Judge’s placing was revised and Cloud Cover, who finished on fastest behind Tequila, was declared the winner. Amouresque (Mr Mellon - Complimentary) was the market rage and the shortest priced runner on the day. That she won on the last stride came as a huge relief to her followers.

Zafayona was the one to put a scare into Amouresque by darting into the lead soon on start and then accelerating further stretching the fight right to the post. Delphi was second till the turn but failed to improve thereon and finished a tame third. Among the debutants who lines up for the Potential Champion Trophy, Khursaniya (Senure - Shahandeh) was backed heavily while Tamarai had some last minute money pouring in at race time.

Khursaniya jumped out smartly and darted to three-length lead in no time. Tamarai set about in chase with the rest following a few lengths away with Elizabeth in the last position. Tamarai managed to cut down the lead and joined the favourite at the turn. However, Khursaniya accelerated well and wrested the lead once again and built on it entering the straight. Jockey Dashrath Singh kept her going leaving Tamarai to do the chasing.

Tamarai warmed up far too late and despite putting an all out effort failed to get past Khursaniya who held on well. Elizabeth improved considerably to take the third spot ahead of Sunlight Magic. Blue Knight (Placerville–Blurr) was another debutant who dished out an impressive display. Appalina was a patch of her last start and was never in the hunt. Classic Ruler was the one who dictated the pace and ran away to a five-length lead. Tattenhoe and Blue Knight were together while Appalina was struggling to catch up.

Chotee Begum was improving gradually. McQueen lost four lengths at the start yet managed to finish sixth and ahead of Appalina. Into the straight, Blue Knight warmed up nicely and soon began to devour ground at a good clip. He quickly raced past Classic Ruler and stretched away to notch up an impressive victory. Chotee Begum ran on to take the runner-up berth while Silver Soul ran into place money.

Katrak compiled his fine treble in the last race of the day with Mia Stella (Verglas-Constantania). Sing Along was the first favourite and Mia Stella was available at three to one. Mia Stella led briefly as they came out of the gates, and then settled in the fourth position. Sing Along raced in the rear. No sooner they turned for home, Mia Stella slipped through the rails and assumed command travelling extremely well. Sing Along took the turn wide and came under pressure. Mia Stella stretched away to compile a facile victory and was untroubled. Pound Foolish and Roses All The Way ran into place money.

Sing Along laboured on to catch a place in the frame. Arbudh (Royal Kingdom – Musical Pepper), from the yard of trainer Uday Bhan Singh, got the better of Satsuma Star in the fifth race. Ridden well off the pace, Arbudh made his move early in the straight to track down long time leader, Sol. Arbudh strode powerfully and sailed ahead leaving no chance to Satsuma Star to get anywhere closer. Sol retired after leading the field into the straight. Lightning Cavalry improved to earn place money.

Cambiasso was the biggest disappointment of the day going down to the spirited White Knight (Placerville-Shamaal). Wild Torronaado and Taanush made all the early running, but when the race took a serious turn both fell back alarmingly. White Knight grabbed the lead early in the straight but Cambiasso was always within reach. However, White Knight kept the momentum going and made a desperate bid.

White Knight clearly looked the fitter of the two and managed to hold on comfortably this time. The run was badly needed for Cambiasso who was running after a layoff and he should strip fitter after this run. Super King (Warrshan–Star Gift) won the day’s opening race in a thrilling finish. Scintillating Star and Scenic Silver were clear of the rest while Super King settled way back in the mid-bunch.

As the field turned for home, Scenic Silver stole a march and went ahead shaking off Scintillating Star. Super King, by then, had improved to third. Super King then started to accelerate nicely getting closer to Scenic Silver with each stride. Super King finally got his head in front to score a narrow victory. Beside Trainer C.D. Katrak, who sent out three winners, jockeys Suraj Narredu and Dashrath Singh scored a double each.