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Believer wins a thriller

By Sharan Kumar | 19 Dec 2003 | BANGALORE

Believer (K.P.G.Appu up) winner of The Saptharishi Cup being led in by trainer S.Domnic and owners Rajan Agarwal and Ravindra KUmar

Jockey Appu’s forceful riding made the difference to the outcome of Saptharishi Cup, the feature event of Friday’s races. In a crunch situation, Appu made the difference as Believer staved off a stiff challenge from Cesandri and Chant Royal to land the spoils. There was solid support for Connivance, which was misplaced because the well-bred daughter of Placerville has been a big disappointment right through her career. Obviously, something must be bothering her that has prevented her from actualizing her potential.
Despite a lethargic start, Appu quickly improved his position on Believer to be in striking position of the front-running Siberean, with Connivance, Cesandri in close attendance. Inside the final 350 metres, Believer surged ahead and closer home, the competition became intense as Cesandri, Chimango and Chant Royal came up with flourishing runs. However, Appu managed to drive out Believer to win in an exciting three-horse finish from Cesandri. Apprentice Mark rode a fine race on the runner up but the relatively stronger finish of Appu clinched the issue in favour of the Dominic ward. Connivance was handily placed at the turn but shortened her strides when the pressure of on her to quicken.
M P Mahaesh trained Most Convincing recorded a facile win in the Nethravathi Cup (Div I). First-timer Sky Hunter was backed to the exclusion of his rivals as the well bred son of Green Forest was considered to have too much class for the opposition. Sky Hunter’s full brother and sister had won the Derby and Oaks respectively at Hyderabad and as such, the seven-furlong trip was bound to prove sharp for him. But he was expected to overcome the handicap by his class. But he proved to be very raw and ran green and was never in the reckoning, outpaced in the early part and chasing a lost cause in the straight. Suraj Narredu took Most Convincing on a start to finish mission and the son of Steinbeck stretched out well close home to win with a great deal of comfort. In the form that he is in, Most Convincing should repeat. Ponte Romano chased the front-runner without hope.
The lower division of the race saw Loknath Gowda trained Smooth Criminal enjoy solid support initially but it was Talented Star who ended up as the firm favourite. Jockey Shukla took off on Smooth Criminal from the word `go’ and had a big lead over the rest. However, inside the final 250 metres, Smooth Criminal drifted out of a straight course and raced the final 100 metres on the sand track despite which he managed to spare a shade less than a length to favourite Talented Star who failed to pick speed at any stage of the race. Maggie Thatcher had all the chances but she too proved to be hopelessly one-paced. Port-To-Port was a suggestive fourth.
Autobahn came up with a good stretch run to have the measure of front-running Startrix who failed to sustain her front-running tactics. Brora showed a semblance of returning to form with a late dash to snatch the runner up spot. Trainer Ganapathy and Prakash combined to record a double for the day by taking both the divisions of the Sovereign Crown Plate. While El Condor had it easy in the upper division, Secret Valour barely managed to win in a three-horse finish from Diamond Cut and More Music. Make a note of More Music who ran so well without effective support either from the saddle or the weight of money.