- india's first & foremost horse racing portal

Star Trainer Confounds All Calculations

By Mahendra Mallya | 17 Sep 2011 | PUNE

Mr. Homi D Bhagwagar & trainer Hosidar Daji leading Arzaan (S Zervan Up), winner of The Alexandress Plate

Star Trainer (Storm Trooper – Tiddly Widdly) created a major flutter when he bolted out of the gates and bounded further away in the straight to shock the field and followers of form alike, to score a resounding victory in the Nirmal Ruia Gold Trophy, the feature of the day.

Setting off at a cracking pace, Star Trainer galloped at a fast clip, comfortably ahead of Pepe Junior and Star Future. Ciel Indienne chose to race from behind with Demonstrator and Misschevious Trot bringing up the rear.

Coming into the homestretch, Star Trainer showed no signs of weakening and on the contrary, galloped on strongly to sew up the issue long way from home to stunned silence. He was in fact, the least fancied runner in the small field of six. The odds on Star Future drifted alarmingly from on-money ante-post to nearly 5/1 at race time, some bookmakers even offering 6/4 against for place! True to the trend, Star Future ended last of six. It was later announced that Star Future had broken a blood vessel.

This startling drift in odds and the manner, in which the race unfolded, surely raises doubts that something is amiss, as this is too much of a co-incidence and that is not restricted to this one occasion alone. The stipendiary stewards, it is learnt, have initiated an enquiry into the matter.

Star of Gibraltar (Alnasr Alwasheek – Dancing Image) won the 2400 meters Icarus Plate leading almost all the way but for a momentary phase in the straight. Setting his own pace, Star of Gibraltar maintained a handy lead all the way coming into the straight, which was when favourite Ocean Princess came alongside and even headed the Dallas Todywalla trainee. However, Star of Gibraltar showed nerves of steel as he fought hard, wrested back the initiative and drove home the advantage to emerge victorious in a thrilling battle. Enlightenment disappointed and raised no hope with Srinath riding out off the bridle much earlier than expected.

Hot favourite Vittoria (China Visit – Prevalence) countered a serious threat from Beyond Stars who quietly put on his galloping shoes and marched on ahead from the ‘go’. The rest followed in a heap with Lake Winnipeg, Vittoria and Oriental Dawn following closely. The others were not too far behind, but none from that bunch troubled the prominent four.

Beyond Stars was challenged by Lake Winnipeg soon on turning for home and after a strong tussle, Beyond Stars shook the latter off his back. Vittoria was just beginning to warm up and although he took his time, he finished on with a powerful burst, getting the nod right to pip Beyond Stars on the post. Lake Winnipeg ran on third and Oriental Dawn took a place in the frame, as there was none from behind that could make any impression.

Ancient Wonder (China Visit – Dazzling Queen) finally came into his own and posted his first success this season, but not without a fight. Illustrious was the one to lead the field on start. Talk of the Town lost ground (about 5 lengths) at the start and even though he brushed up to be in touch with the leaders, he had little left to sustain it till the end.

Into the straight, Ancient Wonder zipped past Illustrious who showed no resistance. Incognito improved places went past Amouresque and Harmonica without any trouble. Ancient Wonder shot further ahead with telling strides and soon built a handy lead. He kicked on well to easily thwart the late bid by Incognito who tried hard but failed to capture the winner. Illustrious managed to stay third just ahead of Amouresque to claim the place stakes.

Ranthambhore (Hymn – Radiance) sailed to a very convincing victory on debut, to post the most impressive victory on the day. Chasing Silver Lining until the turn, Ranthambhore shot ahead like a bullet early in the straight and looked every bit the winner as he stormed home comfortably to win running away. Rosalind improved slightly but could do no better than pick the runner –up berth. Rosalind though, improved towards the finish and this outing would come as a good preparatory run and bears watching next time out. Cypress Point was the one to garner some attention as he covered a lot of ground and earned place money. Neath failed to raise a worthy gallop and ended a quiet fourth.

Arzaan (San Fransisco – Flemenco) flew as if sporting a pair of wings in the latter half of the straight to earn his maiden victory sending his owner Mr Homi Bhagwagar into a unique euphoria that can only be felt, never expressed. “I am a small owner and Arzaan is the first horse I owned. He is not an expensive purchase, but I felt as if I have won a classic,” said Mr Bhagwagar, who is affectionately called by the nick name ‘Tiger’ in his friend-circle. The sheer ecstasy writ large on his face was a true reflection of the highest order of adrenalin flow and the sublime emotions felt by an ordinary owner in scoring a first ever victory. “I can’t thank the trainer Hoshidar Daji, jockey Zervan and all the stable hands enough, for bringing me so much joy – a feeling that is impossible to cite in words. I had jokingly remarked to Zervan just before the race that he should ride like he had ridden Cardinal recently. This had brought a smile on his face, and seeing that smile I instinctively felt that Zervan will ride Arzaan to victory and he did! There is no better feeling than this that I have known and I am too elated for words. This day is etched in my memory as my best moment yet!” he exclaimed.

Arzaan practically flew in the last furlong as Radical Mackie, Aslaan and Prince Brijendra were grappling for the lead. Arzaan produced a fiery gallop to overhaul them in a trice and storm to a facile victory.

Thriller (Juniper – Forgotten Dreams) revived his Mumbai form and scored on his first outing this season with a stamp of authority. Ridden well off the pace initially, Thriller produced a terrific finishing run to run away with the race, leaving nothing to chance in the final furlong. Favourite Zeki and next-in-demand Electra, both failed miserably, setting a trend of fancied runners failing in the course of the day. Catalyst ran on to finish a decent second relegating Zeki to third.

Cool Cat (Emerald Cat – Hope) cornered glory in the last race of the day with a gritty show. Al Zamarud made the initial running with Stuntacular in hot pursuit, close behind were Mahima and Cool Cat, with the favourite Visionist in fifth. Steely Dan and Lake Geneva were further off, but racing alongside one another.

Cool Cat took charge soon on turning for home. He then stole a march and built a healthy lead and this surely proved a master move in the final verdict. Sandesh drove Cool Cat with vigour and was looking sound, approaching the final furlong. Steely Dan and Lake Geneva, who had raced all along together, finished on together as well. Lake Geneva overcame a wide turn yet did well to peg back Steely Dan for the runner-up berth. Cool Cat did not exactly surge ahead, nevertheless, pulled off a good victory.