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By Pearcey | 08 Aug 2014 | BANGALORE

Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Isn't She Special (A Sandesh Up), winner of The Governor's Cup (Gr.3)

Racing patrons at Bangalore were treated to a nine event card on the last day of the Summer Season 2014. Parts of their spirits were dampened by rain and resultant underfoot conditions. Most of the races were run on a soggy track and the authorities were forced to cancel the last race of the day. Some long priced horses who relished this type of “going” were able to post unexpected victories. While the first half of the day’s proceedings saw a number of well backed horses skipping clear of their rivals, there were a number of upsets later in the afternoon. An interesting factor that caught everyone’s attention this summer was the close fight for the trainer’s and jockey’s championships. Amongst the trainers, it was Amit Caddy and  Padmanabhan who were separated by two points at the start of  the final day. Since each stable scored a point during the afternoon, the lead remained with Amit Caddy. The young trainer bagged the first Champion Trainer Trophy of his career. It was even closer amongst the jockeys. Cousins Suraj and Yash Narredu were separated by a single point at the finish. With Suraj riding in Macau over the last couple of weeks, Yash had his opportunities. Since a number of horses ridden by him had ended second recently, the sixteen year old apprentice was unable to go past his brother and set a personal record. It would have been the first time ever that an apprentice would have been crowned as the champion jockey at Bangalore. If we consider the fact that he had ridden the first winner of his career at the start of this season, it would have been a fairytale ending to an impressive  journey over the last couple of months.

 The Governor’s Cup (grade III) was the feature event of the day. It was a mile and a half race reserved for horses four years old and over. This well endowed event attracted some top class horses. The presence of Agostini, Snowdrift, An Acquired Taste, Ambitious Reward and Isn’t She Special amongst this group generated a lot of excitement. The best performed in this set was definitely Agostini. His victory in the Bangalore Derby and a second placed finish in The Indian Turf Invitation Cup at Hyderabad, were outstanding performances. Furthermore, most of the runners in today’s feature had clashed in The Chief Justice’s Cup earlier in the season. That race had been won by Amazing Grace. As this was a terms event, and since none of the others had won a race thereafter, they were assigned similar weights today. Considering the above factors, as also Agostini’s showings in subsequent starts, the bay was installed as a firm favourite to bag this prestigious trophy. Not many realized that Isn’t She Special was suited by the soft underfoot conditions. The Padmanabhan trained filly was allowed to start as a relative outsider in this race.

Isn’t She Special darted out of the gates and set a good pace ahead of Beauty Is Truth, Ambitious Reward and Agostini. Most of the others were happy to move in a single file at the back, as the runners tackled the initial stages of this race. Their journey in the back-stretch unfurled on similar lines. Sandesh and Isn’t She Special continued to dominate the proceedings and were almost three to four lengths ahead of the chasing pack. The only things that appeared to have changed at the back were the positions of Ambitious Reward and Agostini. While Ambitious Reward had faded into oblivion, Agostini was seen improving on the wide outside. Those who expected the favourite to collar the leader in the straight were in for a surprise. Thriving in soft underfoot conditions, Isn’t She Special quickened further in the final furlong. The winner was sighted a long way from home. In a minor scramble for the other slots, Wind Stream rallied late to beat An Acquired Taste and Agostini on the post. Only a couple of “necks” separated the three of them. There were many who were confused with Agostini’s performance. It was learnt that as a result of a broken bit, his bridle had moved out of position. Resultantly, Trevor was unable to do much in the saddle.

 It was a great afternoon for Suleiman Attaolahi and his regular rider Trevor Patel. The two of them sparkled with a treble on an otherwise dull afternoon. It all began with the third race of the day, when The Artist came with a smart bid through the rails and powered away to a fluent victory. It was a sprint for maiden three year olds. Vastly experienced Jingle Bells carried the public purse in this race. The Padmanbhan trainee had been running some forward races this season, and it was felt that she had the ability to put it across her present opponents. Sandesh managed to take Jingle Bells to the front and the filly set a moderate pace ahead of Son Of Stars and our Little Dragon. Trevor was content to keep The Artist in fourth place and the jockey was seen searching for an opening at the bend. The yawning gap that suddenly appeared towards the inside rails was all that was needed.  The Artist responded to Trevor’s call and moved ahead of the pack. He increased the tempo and won by a widening margin from Our Little Dragon, Son Of Stars and a tired Jingle Bells. First-timer Son Of Stars was an equally impressive runner in this race.

Rank outsider Scarlet O’hara shocked the followers of form by posting an unexpected victory in a mile and a quarter event reserved for horses in class II. This race had attracted some stout stayers and there a number of horses that ran with a realistic chance of winning this race.  On the basis of his recent form and showings on the training track, Ace Bucephalas enjoyed favouritism. Others like Mickey Mouse and Spanish Cannon received stray support in the betting rings. Getting down to her usual front-running role, Scarlet O’hara hit the front and showed the way to Pursuit Of Fame, and Spanish Cannon. Ace Bucephalas and Mickey Mouse were content to play the waiting game and stayed at the back, as the horses took the rising ground near the three furlong marker. The order till that stage was exactly the same as before. It was hereabouts that the jockeys got busy. Each one of them pulled out their respective whips and started to urge their mounts relentlessly. With Scarlet O’hara refusing to slow down, it was realize that this race was headed for an “upset”. Under the brilliant guidance of Trevor, the 30/1 outsider maintained her hold on this race and won by a diminishing margin from Pursuit Of Fame. Mickey Mouse made up much ground to end a close third ahead of a tired Spanish Cannon. Ace Bucephalas took down a lot of money by running poorly today.

 The third and final winner for Suleiman and Trevor was Booker Jones.  This youngster had impressed by winning the first race of his career in winter. The connections felt that he was a good type and took him to Hyderabad to have a tilt at a local “million”. He somehow failed to live up to their expectations by ending a faraway third in that race. After a longish absence from a race track, Booker Jones was running in the upper division of a class IV sprint today. In poor underfoot conditions, he started as the first choice of the punters. John’s mount Millrose was the other runner that got backed with the bookmakers. Since this was the last race of an eventful and wet day, the underfoot conditions were far from satisfactory. Trevor took it easy on Booker Jones and raced him in mid division for most of the way. John astride Millrose chose to track Booker Jones into the straight. Once the front-runners moved towards the outer portion of the track at the final bend, the two market fancies decided to make their moves, Booker Jones overtook Apollo Star in the final furlong and stormed home to a great victory. Millrose tried her best thereafter, but she was unable to do better than take the third spot besides Apollo Star. Now that Booker Jones has re-discovered his galloping shoes, it would be fair to say that in all probability, he will move up the ladder,

 The lower division of the above sprint happened to be the first race of the day. Faraz Arshad’s last outing winner Super Force was a strong favourite in this race. The filly had emerged from the maiden ranks a few weeks ago with an outstanding victory against some fairly strong opponents. This was the first time that she was appearing in open company. The heavy impost that she was assigned by the handicapper failed to deter her backers, and the bookmakers were careful while offering even-money on her. A Imran Khan rode her patiently today. Realizing that Big Copper Penny is a very speedy customer, he chose to wait till the bend. Super Force moved steadily in second spot before going ahead in the straight. With nothing really challenging her from the back, Super Force had it easy for rest of the way. Just being ridden hands-n-heels in the final furlong, she won easily from a late finishing Pacific Blue and Mystical Shadow. The winner is a good sprinter and she has it in her to win on promotion.

 The very next race witnessed another strongly supported runner winning with ease. Amit Caddy’s White Snowdrops was facing a modest set of rivals in a seven furlong handicap for horses rated in the lowest category. The filly had been missing the jump in recent times, and the trainer had given her a longish break from racing. In the interim, he had given her enough gate practice to improve her behavior. Realizing that Yash Narredu is very quick at the start, he had little hesitation in entrusting the filly to the youngster. The two kilos claimed by the apprentice was an added advantage.  The grey received good support to start as a favourite ahead of Quarter Cask and Magnetize. Yash took a smooth jump with White Snowdrops, and the filly did the rest. She led comfortably till the bend before increasing her momentum. Within the next couple of seconds, she managed to open a huge gap ahead of the others. Yash relaxed his hold on the filly in the final furlong. This enabled Magnetize to end a respectable second ahead of Buzzword and Whimsical. The connections of Quarter Cask were disappointed with the performance of their ward today.

 A nice gamble was successfully landed by the Hidayat Khan stable a little later in the afternoon. Regal Soldier was available at 7/2 in morning trade, and the four year was second favourite behind As Good As It Gets in a class IV sprint on Friday. Since As Good As It Gets had posted a narrow victory in his previous start, he had escaped with relatively light penalty. With PS Chouhan in the saddle, he was expected to do well today. But the Hidayat Khan camp had other ideas. They backed Regal Soldier with confidence and the four year old was a measly 12/10 as the runners faced the starter. While As Good As It Gets and Amazonas took off smartly and raced prominently till the bend, Regal Soldier was held in restraint. It was clear from jockey Christopher’s posture that he was biding his time before pouncing on the leaders. After leading the group into the straight, PS Chouhan and As Good As It Gets disappeared from the scene. This enabled Amazonas to hit the front. It was at this stage that Regal Soldier joined the fray. His backers were a bit worried when they realized that he was under pressure to collar the leader. However, Christopher’s whip made all the difference. Regal Soldier responded to his riders call and managed to overtake Amazonas in the final stages of this race.  Vigorous and Winning Story moved smoothly into the other slots on the result boards.

 The easiest winner of the day was undoubtedly Azhar Ali’s Diamonite. The five year old presented her young trainer with the first victory of his career. In all her previous starts she had been ridden for eventual speed by her riders. She is known to come with a nice turn-of-foot near the bend and cover a lot of ground in the straight. Diamonite was running in a seven furlong handicap, for horses five years old and over in class III. The youngest runner in a twelve horse field was conceding chunks of weight to her rivals. John made use of an innermost draw and nudged her to go to the front. Surprisingly, she followed his instructions and showed the way to Optimus Zone, Prom Queen and Trust Me Boy. The rest of them were under pressure to stay in touch with the leaders. Diamonite brought them into view while enjoying a two length break at the bend. It was hereabouts that she displayed her known acceleration. A tap from John was all that was required to quicken further. Diamonite extended her margin of victory and won by almost half a dozen lengths from a late rallying Trust Me Boy and Optimus Zone. Strongly supported Igah Igah Igah ran poorly to finish off the frame.