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Victory march of public choices marred by bad track, poor timings

By Usman Rangila | 05 Sep 2003 | PUNE

Nothing seems to be going right these days for the champion rider of yore Aslam Kader. Aslam turned a free-lancer after his long association with Kolkata-based owner Deepak Khaitan came to an abrupt end a year or so ago. Sadly, he was unable to form a similar alliance and for reasons unknown, none of the other owners and professionals were inclined to give Aslam a “leg-up”. Dr M.A.M. Ramaswamy did show some sympathy towards the one-time champion. Still, the racing baron’s retainers, B. Prakash and Mark Gallagher, continued to get preferential treatment leaving no room for Aslam to make a comeback.
The jockeys’ strike during the Bangalore summer season only exacerbated Aslam’s problem. In his attempt to show solidarity with the Jockeys Association of India, Aslam foolishly refused a chance ride offered atop Glorious Colours by trainer S. Ganapathy, who eventually emerged victorious in the Bangalore Derby. That all other top-flight jockeys were engaged to ride in the blue riband is a different matter all together.
There appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel for Aslam when trainer Faisal Abbas recently sought his services. Bad luck was doggedly pursuing Aslam. Last Sunday, he took ill and could not fulfil his engagements one of which was a winner. And then came another unfortunate moment of his life. Aslam crashed into the ground after his mount Karishma, a favourite to win, collapsed after bursting her blood vessels. God showed mercy on him and Aslam escaped with superficial injuries (earlier, doctors attending him reported a fracture near his spine). 
Doctors have advised complete rest for Aslam and it seems that he will be out of action for quite some time. Only time will tell if this pint-sized dynamite will be able to claw his way back from this depressing phase or whether the world has already seen the best of Aslam.
This ominous start not withstanding, favourites continued to pound the turf accountants beating the daylight out of them. Only Arabian Commander, who snuffed out the bid of Free Gold, brought some profits for the bookies but the rest rendered their bottom-line red. Before moving ahead, it needs to be mentioned that the decision of the estate officer B.N. Nanjapa to employ the main track raised the hackles of the trainers. The underfoot conditions were rank bad and the timings ostensibly poor. What saved the skin for Nanjapa was that the public choices did not falter and overcame these hurdles successfully. The fact remains that many of the runners were affected by the man-made adversities foisted upon them.
The amount of smart money flowing in the direction of Eternal Flight gave a big insight into the fate awaiting the other runners. The favourite romped home unchallenged with Momentous Mover and Czai completing the formality of taking the consolation berths.
Trainer Arti Doctor led in Flag Bearer and Special One to capture both the divisions of the Consequence Plate. At no stage were both Flag Bearer (Diffident-Jacinta) and Special One (Greensmith-Ashwakrupa) threatened by any of their rivals and remained outclassed throughout.
Bajrang Singh-piloted Southern Smoke (Metal Precieux-Sarmatara) made steady progress on the bit at every pole and the winner was sighted by many at the bend itself. Supreme Chancellor had some resistance to offer but with no avail. Though Self Appointed (Placerville-Queen Ann) was off the bridle and a beaten horse long way from home, there is a possibility that the filly may not have relished the going and deserves another chance. The same holds true for Talisman. Bezan Chenoy-nurtured grey Southern Smoke remains unbeaten in both his starts here and another conquest should be coming soon. 
Exploding Wonder (Portroe-Double Quick) relished the going unlike Tasmac, who normally runs with gay abandon in the front struggled to set the pace on this occasion and faded out at the turn itself. The Shiraz Sunderji ward walloped Gesundheit on his way to glory. The Jaggy Dhariwal-discard Antilles ran true to form to avenge his Independence Cup defeat at hands of Saint Emilion. Sent out by Dr Anil Kumar, Antilles got admirable assistance from Y.S. Srinath when Pesi Shroff astride his erstwhile conqueror joined the dispute at the bend but was forced to beat a hasty retreat from the scene. The son of Au Panache should emerge stronger from this defeat. 
Srinath completed a double through Imtiaz Sait’s Dazzling Queen but not before throwing all caution to wind in his zeal to achieve success astride the piping-hot favourite. Srinath should thank his stars as the RWITC Stewards of the Club were in a benevolent mood on Sunday and allowed his appeal against the eight-day suspension given to him for unsatisfactory riding and his subsequent misbehaviour in the Stewards’ room.