Sun Absolute Performs On Expected Lines
Trainer Irfan Ghatala leading Sun Absolute (Suraj Narredu Up), winner of The Topmost Cup
Talented jockey Suraj Narredu dominated racing action at Bangalore by winning three races and finishing second on his only other mount on Saturday. By virtue of having done so, he joined PS Chouhan at the top of the leader board. His winners included Irfan Ghatala's Sun Absolute, who came with raking strides to annex the day's feature. The Topmost Cup, a mile handicap for horses in the highest class, featured a longish card of nine events. With the withdrawl of Firezone, only eight runners faced the starter. On the basis of comparative ratings and a positive switch in the saddle, Sun Absolute enjoyed firm favouritism. Crown Empress had beaten her in an earlier clash, but the Attaolahi trainee was running with a penalty. Gluteus Maximus had won three out of his last four starts before reaching this class. There was a huge question mark over his ability to tackle the present opposition. The other five lacked recent form to perform on the big stage.
In the hands of claimer Noornabi, Red Renegade charged out of the gates and set a scorching pace ahead of Crown Empress and Astounding Gallop. Sun Absolute travelled easily behind the leaders and Suraj was content to stay there till they began taking the rising ground near the top of the bend. A roar greeted the runners as they entered the straight. Red Renegade was almost ten lengths clear of the chasing pack, and there were a lot of worried faces in the stands. However, they were relieved to see what happened thereafter. Responding comfortably to Suraj's call, Sun Absolute lengthened her strides and galloped past the leader. She won easily from a late finishing Crown Empress and Red Renegade.
He started the day with an armchair ride to victory on a horse trained by his father Satish Narredu. Hot Stuff had failed as a favourite over a shorter trip a few weeks ago. The trainer chose to run him over a mile today. In the absence of a worthy opponent, the dark bay was backed down to odds-on favouritism. He ran as he liked till the top of the straight, and was just given a nudge thereafter. Hot Stuff skipped clear to win on tight reins from top weighted For An Angel. After a slow getaway, the latter made up much ground to take the runner-up berth ahead of Little Boy Blue and Heart Of Gold. The filly has the ability to pick up a race in similar company before the end of the season.
Suraj used different tactics while riding his other winner this afternoon. Partnering Faraz Arshad's Smart Exotic, he allowed the four year old to lead from the word "go". However, he did not permit his mount to tear away from the pack. Jaldi, Super Surprise and Inspirator raced close behind him till the two furlong marker. It was at this stage that Suraj began to move. Smart Exotic dug deep into his reserves of stamina and kept going. The pair lasted out to hold Jaldi at the wire. Spark Of Diablo made up ground from the rear to save place money for his backers. Favourite Super Surprise burst a blood vessel and finished off the frame.
Suraj's efforts to make it four out of four with Super Spectacle were thwarted by the much superior Emerald. Arjun Mangalorkar took a decision to run her as a top weight in a lower category. Running amidst horses in her own age group, and that too over a suitable mile, Emerald was a unanimous choice of most racegoers. She raced nice and easy for the first half of her journey, allowing Showers Of Luck, Rubellite and Super Spectacle to show the way till that stage. John showed her daylight near the three furlong marker and produced her wide into the straight. She devoured ground thereafter and won with a measure of comfort. Super Spectacle made a late charge to beat front-running stablemate Showers Of Luck into third place.
John had an equally easy time while guiding public favourite Thoughts N Actions to a comfortable victory in the lower division of a sprint for horses rated 40-65. Thoughts N Actions had suffered interference in his last outing, wherein, he had ended a respectable third. There were no such problems today. John allowed this Prasanna Kumar trainee to track Sunday Cruz, Hillstone and Affirmative. Seizing a yawning gap towards the inner rails, he made his move in the straight. In a matter of seconds, Thoughts N Actions went clear of the pack. Despite being eased up in the final furlong, the chestnut won by a healthy margin. Ace Blood made up much ground after taking the bend, and moved into second place ahead of Hillstone and the others.
Cirque Du Soleil and Sovetskaya credited Suleiman Attaolahi and Anthony Crastus with a well deserved double. First-timer Cirque Du Soleil was opposing a more experienced Maths Baby in The Hyderabad Silver Vase. By virtue of having finished a good second on debut, Maths Baby was an odds-on choice of the punters. However, most of them got nervous once the race started. The moment they noticed Anthony's stance astride the eventual winner, they realized that they had a fight on their hands. Without making much of an effort, he took Cirque Du Soleil to the front. The free striding colt responding well to his jockey's urgings and opened up a nice looking lead into the straight. Anthony was content to ride him hands-n-heels while guiding him safely accross the wire. On the other hand, Samuel Fargeat was quite active on the favourite. The furious whipping did not help his cause, as Cirque Du Soleil was always travelling much better than Maths Baby. Midnight Legacy appeared late on the scene to take the third spot.
After losing the race on the turf, Sovetskaya managed to get her prize in the Stewards Room. A sprint handicap for horses in Class III attracted a competitive set of runners. Sovetskaya, Chul Bul Pandy, Free Law and Decorated were equally fancied by their respective connections. Free Law made use of his early speed and showed the way to Chul Bul Pandy, Sovetskaya and Decorated. The four of them raced well within themselves as they moved towards the home turn. Free Law increased the tempo in the straight and went a couple of lengths clear of Chul Bul Pandy. Sovetskaya improved steadily along the rails to join the issue, while Decorated ran out of gas and faded from the scene. BL Paswan roused Chul Bul Pandy with his stick and the horse rolled inwards. He gave a couple of "knocks" to Sovetskaya, hampered her progress and then moved forward. He got the better of Free Law in the last fifty metres and posted an authentic victory. Sovetskaya came with a long stretch run to finish an impressive second. Those amongst the racing patrons who had watched the proceedings carefully, it was apparent that an objection would be lodged in this race. One look at the action replays was enough to show that there was merit in Anthony Crastus's case. The Stipes and the Stewards were unanimous in their opinion while reversing the official result.
Yet another double from trainer Sharat Kumar and his regular jockey HG Rathod completed the rest of the day's action. Both these victories were achieved through some hard riding and perseverence by the latter, and the races were won close to the final post. Last outing winner Silver Sceptre set the ball rolling in the opening race of the afternoon. Lokanath trained Maverical took down a lot of money while ending a poor third in this race. Apprentice Noornabi employed runaway tactics astride Dominic's Rise To Glory, but the pair had no answers to Silver Sceptre's onslaught. Making free use of the whip, Rathod brought his charge with a flourish in the last hundred metres to move past the leader. This was the first time that Rise To Glory had figured on a result board. It may not be long before the three year old enters the winner's enclosure.
While Silver Sceptre won as a strongly supported contender , their other winner Brabus Speed was totally neglected in the betting rings.The odds against this colt rose sharply and he was freely available at 12/1 as the runners faced the starter. In the absence of an alternative, there was one-sided backing on Scenic Blast . John took the speedy Scenic Blast to the front and set a strong pace ahead of Saphira and Brabus Speed. The trio tore away from the others and not more than a couple of lengths separated them as they began taking the final bend. The smooth and free-flowing strides of Scenic Blast got disrupted near the distance post and this permitted Brabus Speed to collar him in front of the stands. Saphira and Bounty Hunter filled the rest of the frame.