Jodha Waves a Magic Wand as Midnight Coup Pegs Back Coco Chanel
With two-thirds of the Calcutta monsoon racing season behind us, it would be fair to say that the meet has well and truly warmed up to the punter. Form and handicap are playing a major role in the proceedings as indeed is jockeyship. It was in the latter category that a gentleman from western India by the name of T.S. Jodha excelled. The experienced rider pulled off a magnificent triumph atop Harvinder Singh Bath's Midnight Coup during mid-afternoon on a mid-week raceday to lift the Calcutta Monsoon Sprint. It was Sea Legend and Coco Chanel who called the early shots with the eventual winner tucked in along the rails in fifth spot. After the turning for home, Coco Chanel shot ahead and appeared to have the race in the bag. That's when Jodha took over the reins. Using the stick with his left hand, Jodha squeezed his mount through a narrow opening to land the spoils close home. For those not familiar with the name of Midnight Coup, the property of Mr and Mrs Sol Noah was earlier called Beckham and was based in Bangalore. Remember now.
It's really good to see the Calcutta trainers use apprentices to good effect. Five of the seven races saw apprentices claiming 5kg allowances in the forefront. Md Sameer on Oojah sent the favourite Promissory for a toss in the curtain-raiser. Then came the measured win of Pradeep Kumar astride Body And Soul in the Desiree Handicap. The horse is known to have a penchant for this rider and he did not disappoint though he was neglected in the ring. Tracking Bullet Proof till 100 metres from home, Pradeep had the Corner mount edging ahead in the last 50 metres.
Apprentice B. Mahesh's back-to-back cup-double with Mezzano and Romantic Scene showed that punters too were willing to put their money on them. Both horses closed as on-money favourites. While Mezzano lifted the Hydrofoil Cup despite drifting out of a straight course, Romantic Scene treated her rivals with utter disdain in the Wise Guy Cup.
The last apprentice to win was Arman Khan in the afternoon's final event. Atop Daniel David's Triple Edge, he pegged back the speedy favourite Zafir by the narrowest of margins.
Followers of Christopher Alford had a miserable day as the champion rider came unstuck on Promissory, Appertain and Elusive Study - not that any of them had much of a chance on paper. They were in effect false favourites.
This review would not be complete without a word about Vinay Jaiswal, who rode a superb finish on Alamgir to bring home the bacon in the Fusebox Handicap. The top-weight took advantage of stablemate Lizzy Arden shifting off a straight course and returned a winner, thanks to the rider's efforts.