Soberano Lifts Ashoka Chakra Cup
Irfan Ghatala's Soberano was a surprise winner of The Ashoka Chakra cup, the feature event in Monday's race card. It was very surprising to note that only four three year olds had accepted to run in this well-endowed race. The normally well-represented stable of Dr Ramaswamy had only a symbolic runner in Mystified, thus leaving Padmanabhan-trained Western Command as an overwhelming favourite at 40/100 to lift this trophy. The other two runners were Allonia who is normally a slow starter, and Soberano who had been entrusted to apprentice Vinod Shinde in a race where allowances could not be claimed. All three runners, barring Western Command, were available at 10's and over in the bookmakers ring. The race was run at a moderate pace with the favourite going to the front, and his rider Chris Hayes was seen trying his best to settle Western Command on an even keel ahead of Soberano, Mystified and Allonia. They entered the straight in the same order, and Western Command quickened nicely to go a couple of lengths clear of Soberano. Allonia and Mystified were seen to be fading out of it. However, Soberano was in no mood to give up and was soon racing by the side of the favourite. Vinod Shinde must be complimented for maintaining his balance and his cool while edging out Western Command in the last few strides of this race. Trainer Ghatala continues to repose confidence in his apprentice boys, and in the process, lead in winners on a daily basis. Irfan's other winner in the day’s card was the first timer Bee The Star, which was ridden by apprentice Selvaraj. This filly was backed to the exclusion of her rivals and was touted as a certainty. She jumped out smartly and set a fast pace ahead of the second in demand Surprise Package, Mystic Star, Live It Up and the rest. The filly was travelling so well that her jockey did not move on her till the very end. She won from a hard-ridden Surprise Package and Mystic Star. The rest were outclassed. The added attraction in the day’s card was the Saptharishi Cup for horses in class II. The two main contenders in a field of 12 were Woman On Top and Perfect Tribute. On sheer past performances, Woman On Top was made an odds-on favourite with Perfect Tribute available at 7/2. The speedy Heroines Beauty took off at a fast pace with Perfect Tribute and Olivia Valere in close attendance. Jockey De Souza and Woman On Top were seen cantering along in close fourth position on the wide outside. Just as Perfect Tribute took over the running at the bend, Woman On Top came with a devastating run on her outside and lengthened her strides to romp home for an easy victory. The saddle on Perfect Tribute was noticed to have shifted due to which the jockey stopped riding her in the last furlong, and in the process was unable to even save place money. Woman On Top seems to have recovered from her numerous problems, and should be able to do well for the connections in her present form and condition. Chiquitita, who was slowly off at the gates, came with a long stretch run to take second place ahead of Olivia Valere. She should be able to win a race in her age group before long. The race for 2 year-olds saw a group of average looking youngsters face the starter. The betting ring echoed a similar sentiment with the odds against the favourite Pinaakini expanding to 11/4. A lot of money came on Spark of Elegance, and in the end it was proved on the track that her supporters had been right. Allowing Pinaakini to lead her into the last furlong, Spark of Elegance quickened nicely and beat the favourite with a measure of comfort. Rimpuche was a hard ridden third. Agassiz was a very impressive winner of a 2,000 metres event for horses in class IV. This filly is bred to stay and she proved that her second to the Poona Derby winner Gobelin during Bangalore summer races was not a flash in the pan. She did not give any anxious moments to her supporters, as she made all the running over this extended trip and was eased up by her jockey much before the winning post. Double Elite was the best of the rest as he just about managed to save the second place ahead of the fast finishing Shisham and Plum Pudding.Agassiz is bred to stay and her style of running suggests that she will do well if campaigned judiciously over longer trips Trainer Byramji sent out Girl Next Door and Afea to popular victories in the other two races in the day’s card. While Girl Next Door made every post in her race a winning one, Afea came from the back and passed the front running Adorabella to retire an easy winner in a sprint race for horses in class IV. Jockey De Souza rode a brace of winners to share the day’s honours with trainers RR Byramji and Irfan Ghatala.