AVIETTE MAKES IT START-TO-FINISH
Trainer Vijay Singh leading Aviette (Shailesh Shinde Up), winner of The Fair Haven Cup
It was ‘Punters Day’ at the Calcutta racecourse on Tuesday as all seven first favourites obliged - a rare occurrence indeed at this centre. The on-money public choice Aviette from Vijay Singh’s yard made the mile race for the Fair Haven Cup a start-to-finish affair in the hands of Shailesh Shinde. Natural front-runner Sergeant Major dropped his rider at the jump-out and that may have prompted Shinde to urge his mount to the helm of affairs immediately. She won fairly comfortably from a hard-ridden Chala Ja Bachha. The latter was being ridden by S. Rajput as jockey Imran Chisty failed to fulfil his engagements.
Aviette was Vijay Singh’s third winner of the day as he had earlier led in Axstone and Amarilla, both ridden by Christopher Alford. Allowing Cee Four to lead the four-horse field in the Rising Star Handicap, while he sat a handy second atop Axstone, the duo sailed past him in the straight to win from a late finishing Razmaden. The Mountain Lily Handicap saw Silver Silver shoot into the lead and try to make ends meet but his effort came to nought when challenged by the public fancy Amarilla along the rails. Sunny Sue plodded on to occupy the runner-up berth.
After being interfered at the start and poorly handled in his last essay, Massachusettes was piloted flawlessly by Shailesh Shinde to land the spoils in the 2000 metres race for The Young Lady Handicap. It was possibly the most interesting race of the day as the ante-post favourite Conquerable set the pace while Massachusettes was kept a handy third or fourth behind Crafty Lady. A couple of cracks from Shinde’s whalebone saw Massachusettes respond gamely and sail past the front-runner in the straight. Schwarzenegger and Rise Above ran on to occupy the minor placings.
Richard Alford-trained Colourful Dreams had lost unexpectedly to Rise Above last time out but made amends on this occasion. Apprentice Azharuddin rode a clinical race by positioning his mount early behind Apyrous and then making his move in the straight. Frequent flyer Dance In China continued to place and earn stake money for his connections. Just like the ban on racing on consecutive days by the same animal, there ought to be some sort of rule introduced to check horses from being over-raced. After all, it is the job of the management to keep the interest of the dumb creature in mind also and not only those of the connections.
Shafiq Khan-trained Meekathara bagged the Regal Star Handicap by a street. He was backed down to 12/10 and drew away from the top-weighted No Looking Back when apprentice Javed asked for an effort. The youngster has plenty of speed and should pick up a few more races within the year if placed judiciously.
The curtain came down with Christopher Alford completing his treble with Arti Doctor-trained Piaffe. The mare got the better of Kaartiken and his apprentice rider after Alford had chosen the rails route at the top of the straight. However, the runner-up is certain to improve and will be worth keeping an eye on in the future. Despite a change of equipment, front-runner Noble Defender continued to drift to the outer rails. Xavier and Words were seen to finish on well.