- india's first & foremost horse racing portal

RWITC depends more on quantity than quality, futility shows

By Usman Rangila | 04 Oct 2003 | PUNE

The futility of conducting three race meetings on successive days was never more pronounced than on Saturday and its significance, hopefully, not lost on the RWITC administration. After subtracting fifteen runners of the Recovery Plate from the total available at acceptance stage, the remainder sum of contestants in six races was just twenty-nine. Two races were declared void and later reframed with the co-operation of some good Samaritans (read trainers).
The feature event, the Sir H.M. Mehta Trophy, found three contenders while the October Handicap and the Mansab Plate had just five. The effects of the poor attendance were felt in the tote-collections, which were abysmally low and the final figures certainly do not make a case in favour of such type of racing.
One fact which the RWITC administration has all along refused to accept is that the strength of horses grazing in the yards of Western India has reduced considerably in the last couple of years. Some critics of the RWITC often remark, tongue-in-cheek of course, that: "it appears that somebody has given the RWITC a contract (supari in the local lingo) to shut down horse racing at this centre." Nobody, however, knows who that ‘somebody’ is. Who knows, the RWITC could also be making an attempt to find an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records! For, nowhere in the world does anyone find racing being conducted on a three-day stretch. But, the RWITC squeezed six three-day programmes all in one racing season alone! Nevertheless, if quantity and not quality is given preference by the RWITC think-thank, then this noble sport will continue to limp.
Despite being contested by only three runners, the Sir H.M. Mehta turned out to be the centre of attraction of all. Queen Ernest from Altaf Hussain’s yard and Bezan Chenoy’s candidate Brave Victor got more or less equal support from the bettors. She may’ve matched the price in the ring but Queen Ernest was certainly no match for Brave Victor on the racetrack. The Nanoli Stud-bred bay son of Alnasr Alwasheek out of Brave Ballerina raced with gay abandon as David Badel embarked on a start-to-finish mission and accomplished it comfortably as Queen Ernest ended up fighting to save the second place from Special Place.
Though the victory of the odds-on choice Dancing Greens (Greensmith-Dancing Designs) was a forgone conclusion it did bring some succour to the Altaf Hussain camp as she destroyed the opposition to claim the October Handicap. Second favourite Anna Karenina flattered for the first four-furlongs or so after Pesi Shroff hit the front but Dancing Greens put paid to their hopes after C. Rajendra switched gears. Netstar rallied well to relegate stable-mate Anna Karenina to the third slot. 
Flag Bearer (Diffident-Jacinta) duly obliged in the curtain raiser though only the moneybags could afford to take a risk at the cramped odds offered against him. The victory of this Arti Doctor-trained chestnut brought some comfort for the owners who were seriously disappointed with the performance of Early Bird a day earlier. Apprentice R.K. Mahesh hardly faced any problems barring the brief pestering of Tagged For Terror in the initial stage of the six-furlong race. Racing close to the rails Flag Bearer bowled along merrily for his second straight success
This same jockey-trainer combination went on to complete a double with the profiting win of Shahandeh. The looks of Imtiaz Sait-saddled High Handed were scarcely different from that of barn-mate Sevilla and yet she was on top of the market’s fancy list. She suffered the same fate as Sevilla but ended second behind Shahandeh and a head in front of Different Strokes. Shahandeh chased True Thriller till the bend where Mahesh alerted her and overtook the leader without receiving much resistance.
After her dismal show in the race won by Antilles last month, there were few who gave Galaxy Star from Dallas Todywalla’s yard a chance against the even-money favourite Maracaibo. But the grey son of Razeen, visibly impaired in one of his eyes, was sluggish at the start with Malesh Narredu having to whip the Vinayak trainee to catch up with the field. Meanwhile Irishman Mark Gallagher got straight down to business with Galaxy Star and contrary to the expectations of many drew away from Maracaibo in the straight. The favourite failed to quicken and had to taste another defeat this season.
Trainer Mansingh Jadhav-trained Road Runner defied his paddock looks and just managed to ward off the spirited bid of ante-post favourite Compassionate, the filly trained by Arti Doctor and who had to bite dust again. After losing some ground at the start, Pesi made quick progress astride the Tirol filly. Compassionate came tantalisingly close to nail down Road Runner but Rajendra rode a peach of a race in driving the winner plain hands and heels even as Pesi was whacking his mount. 
The four-year-old filly Rich Treat gave some respite to her master Himmat Singh and helped him open his account this season. Hormuz Antia-trained Imperial Thriller led the field of fourteen on sufferance but was more than happy to relinquish the burden in favour of Rich Treat, who finally managed to bring home some bacon. The urgings of apprentice Nirmal Jodha induced a positive response from the filly even as S. Shinde astride Imperial Thriller was throwing in his towel.