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David Badel finds himself in the eye of a storm in Western India

By Usman Rangila | 14 Sep 2003 | PUNE

Mrs. K N Dhunjibhoy receiving The Southern Command Gold Trophy (Grade III) which was won by Algeciras ridden by S.Rajesh

Be it Bangalore, Pune or Hyderabad, owner Khushroo Dhunjibhoy and his men continue to live a charmed life and pick plum events at will. There was a double delight in store for the head honcho of the RWITC on Sunday. Algeciras from Vinayak’s charge first brought cheers with his triumph in the Southern Command Gold Trophy. Even before the rejoicing could get over in the Dhunjibhoy-camp, Zurburan from S. Padmanabhan’s yard clinched the Nizam Gold Cup at Hyderabad.
There was high drama in the race as the eleven-horse field got off the blocks for the mile journey. David Badel faced problems in getting Free Radical on an even keel in the initial stages which only worsened when turning for home. Till then, Free Radical, Shamaal and Noble Eagle were cutting each other’s throat in trying to establish their individual supremacy. Noble Eagle, the McDowell Indian Derby 2003 winner, became the first casualty. He got clipped in the right hind leg by Free Radical and that virtually sealed his fate as he dropped back gradually. Free Radical then went on to Shamaal on whom Bajrang Singh could not exercise proper control and was hurtled into the lead, something which he had no intention of doing and neither planned by Shamaal’s connections. 
Even as this street brawl was taking place, Acrobat found his rhythm and Ryan Marshall bulldozed his way between Ippodamia and Algeciras. Ippodamia was the worst to suffer from this interference but Acrobat soon found himself in the lead. Jockey S. Rajesh spurred Algeciras at this juncture and went stride for stride with Acrobat towards the wire. Algeciras eventually had his say when the photo-finish camera spun into action. Name of Love rallied along to grab the third place ahead of Raziya. Cacophony created quite an impression when she flew towards the end to finish fifth. The injury suffered by Noble Eagle is reported to be serious and might cost him his career.
A very interesting comment was made by an experienced race horse owner after the conclusion of the feature event. The reason why it is reproduced here is because the comment was not only telling but summarized the entire running of the race in few words. The grey-haired gentleman quipped, “Three jockeys from three different continents rode like plain amateurs and f***** up the race.” This left-handed compliment was paid to Frenchman David Badel on Free Radical, the Irishman Mark Gallagher aboard Noble Eagle and the son of our soil Bajrang Singh astride Shamaal. These three horses not only possessed the requisite credentials, the calibre of their saddle-partners was equally good too. Not surprisingly did they receive justified support to win the feature event. Unfortunately, none of them could grace the judges’ board.
Badel once again found himself in the eye of a storm. Judging by the effort he put into Second Jewel, the Frenchman, who has won laurels for his skills during his brief stay here, seems that to have bitten by the “bug”. Imtiaz Sait’s candidate was the ante post favourite and quoted at 10 to 9 on which spiralled up to 3 to 1 before the horses entered the paddock for the seventh race. Unruffled by these developments, Second Jewel’s connections showed remarkable confidence and backed him ferociously. The writing was soon on the wall as Badel struggled to keep Second Jewel afloat in the race and the race was all over bar the shouting as Tough Warrior held his fort gallantly. Maracaibo was a disappointment too and this performance was beyond comprehension.
Veteran Bezan Chenoy finds his own ways and means to keep himself busy and content at the same time. He claimed the two divisions of the Sir Bruce Trophy via Monifieth and Bionic Angel, who made a successful debut in their respective events. Both, incidentally, were ridden by Bajrang Singh and odds-on favourites. Monifieth (Razeen-Adored) took toll of runner-up Pancham, who was hanging throughout the race. Digital was out for an airing again and even allowed Rare Edition to take the paying berth ahead of him. Bionic Angel (Metal Precieux-Crepe de Paille) made every furlong a winning won while Road Runner and the rest laboured hard to keep pace.
Sun Seeker overcame all the adversities on the way including one in the saddle and pipped Temple Tune on the post. C. Rajendra astride Zestful seemed to be in a generous mood when he provided C. Alford room to manoeuvre but for which the Imtiaz Sait-saddled winner would have been in a spot of bother. 
Earlier in the day, Sandeep Mangalorkar led in Lake District after the grey filly completed a hat-trick. Except for Magnificence the rest appeared to be mere spectators. Apprentice R.K. Mahesh gave able assistance to Lake District to land the spoils and was later instrumental in steering Tough Warrior to a narrow victory. Tagged For Terror rounded off the day with a stunning victory. The on-money favourite Our Own Girl, with Mark Gallagher aboard, created problems for herself and could only finish fifth. Yet, this daughter of Storm Trooper should not linger in the maiden ranks for long.