David Allan Falters on Becket as Polish Patriot Wins
Mr. Haresh N Mehta & trainer S Padmanabhan leading Polish Patriot (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Rohan Lifescapes Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia Trophy Gr-3
David Allan himself, on hindsight, would have believed that he had squandered a great opportunity of ending Becket’s year on a winning note. Becket was kept in the rear in a relatively slow-paced first quarter with only Cabriolet behind. Cabriolet, in fact, was tardy at the start losing about 4 lengths. Aristos took the early initiative and hung on until the final 100 metres, finishing on very much as part of a heavily crowded finish line. Into the straight, Becket was at the tail end with a wall of horses in front.
Allan could be forgiven for hoping that he would get an opening sooner or later. Besides, he would be the first to know that he had a lot of horse under him. However, that proved to be a wishful thinking as the friendly pace of the race had most of the horses flying towards the finish. Unfortunately for Becket, David had him behind Clarion Call who wasn’t exactly bounding forward. That check there was fatal. As the Dr Mallya duo, Aristos and Sans Pareil were grappling to hold on to the lead, Diego Rivera, Polish Patriot and Cabriolet came charging at them. It was a melee in the final furlong as the seasoned campaigners fought inch for inch to get their noses to the wire. David was hapless, desperately seeking a free run.
He pulled Becket out of the jam just before the final furlong mark. Becket, alarmed by the sudden swerve, lugged outward and here again he lost a couple of strides which proved the final nail in the coffin. In the last 100 metres, Becket, beyond doubt, was moving the fastest, finishing on with the blinding speed that we know he possesses. Only, the winning post came a fraction too early for him. Becket did little wrong on the face of it, but David certainly didn’t enjoy the luck of the race. Fortunately for Mr Haresh Mehta, the trophy and the stake money came his way as the winner – Polish Patriot also belonged to him.
Both Becket and Polish Patriot rest at the stables of trainer Padmanabhan. Polish Patriot (Polish Precedent – Be Mine) too ran a brilliant race and was duly rewarded. Dashrath Singh was at his fiery best and rode a hard race particularly in the final furlong. Diego Rivera fought bravely and did his reputation no harm. Cabriolet seems to have picked his old form and is flexing his muscles in a pronounced fashion. Aristos did well to finish one off the frame as he led them all almost from the start and finished within the bunch. Michele Marieci (Ikhtyar – Chloe’s Delight) looked due for an early win after her last start second to Golden Heart.
Her recent work too was encouraging. The odds at race time drifted on her, but that had no effect on her on the track. Malcolm Kharadi got her to the front soon on start and then worked on her to ensure that she didn’t relinquish the advantage at any point. Entering the straight, Michele Marieci was still in hand and soon High Society started to quicken. High Society got to the haunches of the leader and the two then went for the wire firing on all cylinders. They battled on but Malcolm always maintained an edge all through. Glowing Star was also covering ground purposefully to end close behind High society. Malischka produced a good finishing effort to be a close fourth as did Harlamoff who came from a long way back to be just off the frame.
Blackjack bled during the race and this run is best discounted. But the incident doesn’t augur well for this top-class filly. Jockey Dashrath Singh reported that his saddle slipped during the race and Blackjack never raised her known dazzling gallop. Star Alliance (Razeen – Trois Etoiles) set a steady pace for the small field of four, followed by Strategic Change, Living The Dream and Blackjack. As they entered the straight, Strategic Change rushed past Star Alliance. Soon, Living The Dream too made a forward move, and Star Alliance fell back to third, but still ahead of Blackjack and not too far behind. Jockey Zervan was not going to give in easily and he started to egg the gelding on. Living The Dream got past Strategic Change and then also shifted in, causing the latter a check and Strategic Change also bumped into the inner rails in the process.
Meanwhile, Star Alliance shifted gears and came at them with renewed vigour and sailed past them to score a decisive victory. A stewards’ Enquiry followed and after reviewing the race, the Stewards refrained from altering the judge’s placing. Lunar Quest (Major Impact – Lunar Music) and Constantina battled on in the homestretch and the fight was worth watching from the spectator point of view. Venus Rosewater failed to build on a longish lead she had before the turn and packed up soon on entering the straight. That’s when Lunar Quest took charge. Soon Constantina came alongside working up a good pace and even headed Lunar Quest.
The jockeys, Srinath and Hayes then started to ride out with both fillies going at a good clip. In using the whip, Hayes accidentally hit Srinath’s whip out of his hand as they were closing to the finish. Srinath relied on his strong pushing and just managed to wrest the initiative back at the nick of time and got the favourite home by a short-head. Incognito (Kheleyf – Indistinto) and Class Apart provided enough to shout about in a ‘grappling’ finish. After Snow Blaze squandered a handy lead coming into the straight, Class Apart and Incognito started a fight to the finish. But the duel was not restricted to just a galloping match. Class Apart shifted outward and took Incognito out and then Hayes changed the whip hand to steady his mount. As they came into the final furlong still going at each other at full throttle, Incognito returned the favour by coming in and knocking Class Apart inward.
They flew past the wire together a mere short head separating Incognito as the winner. Hayes took the fight further and lodged an objection which was considered but overruled after a lively debate. In the replay it was evident that Incognito was travelling a shade better but then considering the narrow verdict, the stewards deliberated before allowing Incognito to keep the race. Our Chieftain wore down Salt for the third place. Great White (China Visit – Silver Toy) won impressively and improved upon her last effort where she finished a notable third to Aflatoon under jockey Chandrakant that time. The positive jockey switch provided an ideal Christmas Gift for the connections, as YS Srinath guided the grey filly to an emphatic victory.
Sexy Eyes set the early pace with Peregrine Falcon in close attendance. Titian lost a couple of lengths at the start, yet finished on well to end runner-up. Favourite Scarface ran poorly for the most part but picked up somewhat when all was over. Hayes was seen pushing and prodding the last-start winner right from the outset. Even Titian ran past him despite lost ground and Scarface was detached from the bunch entering the straight. Sexy Eyes had the race in control as they straightened for home and shook off Ocean Emperor who threatened to pose a serious challenge. It was later known that ocean Emperor bled. Sexy Eyes, however, could not halt the mounting challenge coming, when Srinath alerted Great White who quickened with powerful strides.
The grey filly zipped past Sexy Eyes in a trice and established a winning lead. Titian came up strongly in the final furlong to wrest the runner-up berth, pushing Sexy Eyes to third. Scarface surfaced just like the Bollywood cops do, when all the action was over. It was alarming to note Scarface being vigorously urged right from the start. The gelding just wouldn’t settle into a gallop unlike the last time. It may have been an off-day for him, but all didn’t seem right with him, at least in the early part of the race. He, however, finished on with zest and this run can be ignored. Halo Of Fame (Brave Act – Aylesbury) proved that his last start victory was no fluke by providing an encore in much the similar fashion. Prince Cyrus led till the turn and bowed out. Enchanted came with a spirited run and looked to have a good momentum going. But she was soon challenged by Halo Of Fame who sustained herself well to the end. Grant Park really tested her in the final stages, but the gritty Halo Of Fame finished on to stay ahead at the wire.
Brilliant Moon (Major Impact – Sunspangled) put in a never say die performance and even after Sparkler headed her in the closing stages, Suraj Narredu made a last ditch desperate effort to pull herself to wrest back the slender lead and disallow Sparkler in the final surge to the wire. Sparkler came with a big gallop and the duo fought it out. It appeared for a moment that Sparkler would prevail until Suraj pulled a rabbit out of his hat and shocked Sparkler. Arzaan did not help his cause as he lost a few lengths at the start and didn’t finish as well as he might have wanted to. He ended a tame third. Excelltastic did not complement the tremendous support she garnered and disappointed a large following. Glides Line with Shelar astride took charge soon in the straight and never looked in trouble thereafter. Ashravin tried hard to get the measure of Glides Line but could only reduce the margin of victory. Ashravin, however, showed enough that he is getting in the groove and could be a tough contender next time out. Jockey YS Srinath was the lone pro to score a double.