Fleeting Arrow Romps Home In Splendid Fashion
An outstanding gallop in the last couple of furlongs by Fleeting Arrow saw him romping home in The Harvins Bangalore 2000 Guineas (Grade II), the feature event in Saturday's race card at Bangalore.This Babu Rao trainee maintained his unbeaten record on the local track by winning his seventh race in succession ,and confirmed his superiority over the others of his age group at this centre. Frenchman Samuel Fargeat has struck a fine partnership with this modest looking horse. Bred at the Kunigal Stud Farm (Burden Of Proof-Sabre Dance), the bay colt has been improving with each run, and but for a minor setback in training towards the end of the winter season, has maintained his winning form. He has been a darling of the railbirds as he has been their first choice in most of his outings. The second Classic of the winter season saw one filly opposing eleven colts and geldings for this lovely trophy sponsored by the Harvins Group. Fleeting Arrow along with Originality were the highest rated horses , since both of them had won in the highest class earlier in the season. While Fleeting Arrow was known to be comfortable over a mile, Originality was better over sprints. Her connections had been enthused by her performance in the 1000 Guineas, wherein she had finished a fair second to Icebreaker, and decided to give her another chance over this distance. The got-abroad Aristos from Dhariwal's yard had won back to back races in his last two starts ,and it was difficult to guage his full potential as he had won them effortlessly. He was looking exceedingly well in the paddock and had fair support in the bookmakers ring. On the other hand, Darius trained Archipenko was looking a trifle gross in the parade ring. In addition to his physical looks , he was seen sporting bandages . The supporters of this second favourite, became pessimistic about his chances when they watched him being cantered to the starting gates. In an open betting event, Fleeting Arrow started as the favourite at 5/2. The race was run at a brisk pace as Mark of Gibraltar and Fantastic Quest took them along ahead of Aristos, Undue, Fleeting Arrow , Palazzio's Sun and Originality . The other runners were being nudged to keep in touch with the leaders. Star Presentation had missed the kick while Archipenko was being held back for a final assault.The two front-runners shot their bolt at the bend and we suddenly had a new leader. Samuel Fargeat brought Fleeting Arrow with a smooth run through the middle and took command of the situation. Prakash had kept Originality right behind the favourite ,and had followed him like a shadow. He urged the filly at this stage and she responded gamely. Originality joined Fleeting Arrow near the 300 metres marker, and the two of them began to pull away from the rest. After a brief tussle, Fleeting Arrow got stronger with each passing moment, and won convincingly by a widening margin of two and a quarter lengths. Palazzio's Sun ran a game third while Archipenko came with a long stretch run to take the fourth spot. There were two thoughts that crossed one's mind after the presentation ceremonies. The first one pertained to the running of Originality in this race. Icebreaker had beaten her more convincingly a couple of weeks ago than Fleeting Arrow today. What would have happened if trainer Padmanabhan had chosen to run Icebreaker in this race ? The second thought was the normal one about who would be better equipped to handle the mile and a half on Republic Day ? Fleeting Arrow is in pink of condition and his trainer Babu Rao needs to be commended for his patience and efforts. This horse has proved to be one of the best of his age in the country, and it will take a very good opponent to beat him in the near future. His ability to settle in the initial stages of a race, and accelerate when required, suggests that he will be able to handle the Derby distance. It is assumed that his training schedule shall be altered hereafter to make him comfortable over a longer trip. The other performance to catch one's attention during the afternoon came from Arjun Mangalorkar's Tomsk. The trainer had decided to miss the 2000 Guineas and pitched this three year old chestnut colt at the deep end. He had chosen The Shantiniketan Trophy, a Class I race over seven furlongs for him. Arjun was aware that apart from Fleeting Arrow and Originality, no other three year old had been able to win in Class I this season. Having confidence in his charge, he entrusted this nice looking youngster to Imran Chisty. Tomsk was well handicapped as he was set to recieve weight from his opponents. Like most top class races, this too was run at a fast pace. The field was closely packed with Soberano and Noble Guest showing the way to a dozen runners as they straightened for home. Soberano was trying to hold on to his slender advantage, before he was passed by Tomsk near the distance post. Hitchkott and Royal Ambassador were making steady progress on the outer strip of the track, and the duo came menacingly close to toppling the favourite. In a fiercely fought out race, Tomsk was able to dig deep and find some reserves to finally emerge victorious by a neck. Imran Chisty was lauded for his efforts in the saddle. Soberano plodded on to finish a tame third. Another heartwarming performance witnessed in the long nine event card, came from Padmanabhan's Queen Rania. This filly had tremendous credentials as she had beaten Splendid Surprise in Mysore ,prior to the latter winning the Derby at that centre. Queen Rania was plagued with setbacks in training, and therefore raced sparingly. It took her more than a year to re-enter the winners enclosure. Her recent track trials were indicative of her readiness to strike, and she was supported accordingly. David Allan relaxed her in second spot behind Andronicus before making his move near the home turn. It was smooth sailing thereafter , as she ran away from Mangalya Prarambh and El Gordo. She is in terrific form ,and can be supported again in her next outing. Trainer Ganapathy picked up the 2 year olds maiden race of the day. The modestly bred Fair Option had run a good race in the hands of an inexperienced rider in his only start of his career. The stable decided to entrust him to Prakash and the gelding was backed down to on-money favouritism. His supporters got a huge scare when they noticed that he was unable to make any impression on the leading trio of Real magic, Sun Gold and Spark of Oldenburg near the home turn. Prakash was making free use of the whalebone and Fair Option was not responding. The scene altered suddenly, as the leading trio stopped in their tracks and made way for Fair Option to come out and win near the winning post.Fourth placed Real Magic is a speedy filly, and despite looking gross, ran a nice race. She can pick up a sprint race in the near future. The only double in the day's card was recorded by Darius Byramji and jockey De Souza. Their victories were achieved through Raptor Force and Afea. While Raptor Force won with authority, Afea had to ridden hard to win near the final post. Raptor Force benefitted from an easy outing in his earlier start, and treated today's opposition with disdain. He won like all good half-money horses do, and spared nine long lengths to On The Dot and Media Man.On the other hand, Afea came from last position and had to travel wide for most of the way. She was still good enough to nail Fantabulous Prince and Classical Dancer in the dying moments of this race. Prithiraj's Madam Rich had run as a hot favourite in her last start. She was found to be flat footed on that occasion, and had run a poor fourth. There was no such problem today, as she overcame the extreme outside draw and flew> in the last 50 metres to nail Callista.Apprentice Gaurav Sapra rode a powerful finish on the winner. Favourite Superior Surprise ran a poor third ahead of early leader Double Emerge. Stagelight and Graphic Design were the< other winners on an afternoon when favourites obliged at regular intervals.