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Star Wind scrapes through

By Sharan Kumar | 27 Dec 2003 | BANGALORE

Star Wind (Appu up) winner of The Shantiniketan Cup being led by trainer Micheal Eshwer

Star Wind stood out among the contestants in the Shantiniketan Cup which featured Saturday’s races but the daughter of Placerville did not win as expected. She was driven out to win from Nimitz in a close finish. Jockey Appu managed to get Star Wind to just about edge out Nimitz in the nick of time. 
The Michael Eshwer trainee had everything going in her favour. She had the benefit of a good forward run and was well placed in scales but Star Wind who runs best when allowed to run freely in front, was sluggish at the start and failed to get a favourable position. Nimitz had the first run on Star Wind and surged ahead but he did not keep a straight course and went on to the favourite who shied away. That caused the filly to lose momentum just about the time she was getting into top gear and Appu had to gather her again and then cover the leeway. Luckily for the backers of the favourite, Star Wind justified the blind support she enjoyed in the ring by the skin of her teeth.
Amatol was strongly backed to win the A P Kolthavala Memorial Cup, a race for meant for first season runners but jockey Afsar who rarely gets to ride a winning mount, messed up. Afsar took off on Amatol from a wide outside draw and bolted to a runaway lead, hardly giving the two-year old a breather. Despite having been ridden this way, the son of Tirol appeared to have the race under his control inside the final 100 metres but he slackened close home. The well bred son of Steinbeck, Stride To Glory, who looked gross at the paddock parade, gathered momentum and sailed past the winner with a measure of comfort. Had Amatol been entrusted to a good jockey, the result could well have gone in his favour.
Millennium Magic was given a light ride by jockey Prakash last time out but the daughter of Wassel Reef nevertheless had run an eye-catching fourth. But Prakash was lucky not to be reprimanded by the Stipes for that lackluster effort. Now running over a seven furlong trip, Millennium Magic put daylight between himself and the rest when winning by a shade less than eight lengths.Exalted was a suggestive second while favourite Speed Mistrss put in a pathetic performance.
A similar fate awaited those who put faith in another favourite from the Byramji stable namely Crown Ambassador in the lower division of the race. Starzaan led all the way and was being hailed as a winner inside the final 100 metres but he abruptly grinded to a halt in the shadow of the post. Iron Butterfly quickened home nicely to win at fancy odds while Crown Ambasaddor was a tame third.
There was a flood of money on Puttanna trained Smashes who was backed to the exclusion of his rivals. Krishnan had Smashes in front from the word `go’ but he weakened close home and the lesser fancied Chequered Flag managed to edge out the front-runner, much to the chagrin of the backers of the favourite who had put blind faith in the abilities of a horse of unknown potential. 
Gunmaster managed to get the better of Pay The Price close home while Loknath Gowda’s Flying Spur justified the strong support by recording an authoritative win in the day’s other action.