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Ippodamia proves her detractors wrong with a fluent victory

By Usman Rangila | 11 Aug 2003 | PUNE

Ippodamia (Pesi Shroff up) being led in by trainer Imtiaz Sait and Owner Vivek S Jain after winning the The Chief Of Kagal Trophy

Although it is widely accepted that horses are not machines, it has been established that a solid pedigree coupled with a strong regimen is vital in the making of a champion horse. This has been proven time and again by Western India’s star-champ Imtiaz Sait and a glimpse of it was witnessed during the victory of Ippodamia in the Chief of Kagal Trophy on Saturday.
Despite consistency being a distinguished hallmark of her career in the past and the fact that she nurtures under the watchful eyes of champion trainer Imtiaz Sait, followers of big money chose to overlook the strong credentials of the four-year-old filly Ippodamia. They chose to pin their hopes on the bottom-weighted Talisman. The most overpowering factor that influenced their decision seems to have been the handicap difference of 8kg between Ippodamia and Talisman. 
Not to mention the latter’s triumphant return when this duo last met at Mahalaxmi. Despite this statistical supremacy, the odds offered by the bookies defied all logic. Ippodamia set the record straight by simply trouncing her opponents. Eight-and-a-half lengths separated Ippodamia from Talisman, who ended third. Surely, the so-called racing pundits beat a hasty retreat to their study-rooms to figure out where their calculations went wrong.
Talisman, with jockey P. Kamlesh astride, set off in right earnest over the mile journey but fell short on fuel much before the race could take a serious turn. Mark Gallagher-ridden Air Strike had the measure of Talisman for sure but his hopes were short-lived. Ippodamia, who was ridden off the pace by Pesi Shroff in the small field of five, was waiting to pounce on the leaders as they came into the view for the last time. As the right moment arrived, Pesi propelled the progeny of Steinbeck out of Invitation Only into the lead. To say that it was plain sailing thereafter for Ippodamia would be an understatement of the authority with which she won. Pesi Shroff was marvellous as ever in the driver’s seat.
The day started off on a disastrous note for the punters with the flashing victory of Speedster. There was only a motley crowd cheering apprentice Neeraj Rawal after his maiden success at home. Mountain Rose and Wonderbird were outpaced throughout while the others were only wayfarers.
Galaxy Star, sharpened after her previous run in the hands of S. Sameer, gave a thrashing to her rivals in the Classic Jewel Plate. Favourite Star Prestige refused to step out of the dud’s image though he did flatter when taking charge of the running at the start. Star Prestige eventually ended a dismal last. Alzira did not restrict herself in emphasising that she needed this run when finishing second ahead of Tralee. The latter appears to be late-bloomer.
Yvresse presented her master Faisal Abbas a wedding gift by prevailing over Partner Perfect and Czai. But for the herculean efforts of Malesh Narredu aboard Yvresse Faisal, who tied the nuptial knot early in the week, would have probably been sulking. Destiny willed otherwise as Malesh went all-out as if his life was on stake. The well-supported Czai put Yvresse’s chances in peril at one stage but Malesh successfully summoned his skills to thwart the danger.
Close on the heels of Ippodamia’s conquest came the fluent victory of debutant filly Anna Karenina. The daughter of Diffident out of Arctic Dancer reaped gratifying rewards for trainer Shiraz Sunderji’s labour of love. Apart from raising hypothetical questions, the exit of Dancing Greens from the fray did not take away any credit from the brilliance shown by Anna Karenina as she flew out of the gates from stall number 16. 
Betfair (late Mimosa) carried her Bangalore form to produce another winning performance. In her bid to take a short-cut for home, the filly trained by Bangalore-based Michael Eshwer hampered Star Dusk but surged on to win from Applause and Rainy Stream. The last named showed that he is on the road to progress as such he was not disgraced in this defeat. 
Shadow Dancing wrapped up the day’s proceedings with a start-to-finish bid. Her opponents, who seemed satisfied in remaining in the background, made her task easier. Pramod Belose’s acrobatic efforts atop runner-up Scarlet Sabre were rather amusing but his subsequent fall may’ve provided him a perfect alibi. Eglevsky was denied a clear run in the initial stages of the race thus couldn’t make any impact. Unable to vie for the early initiative, Sparkle proved to be a complete misnomer yet this run is best ignored.