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By Ikram Khan | 07 Nov 2014 | BANGALORE

Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Field Marshal (S John Up), winner of The Rajyotsava Trophy (Gr.3)

The first day first show was disappointing from the punters point of view. Most long shots waltzed to victory while the favourites took a back seat. The balance sheet brought the smile on the faces of bookmakers while the big bettors returned home not happy with the many debits posted in their accounts.

The fact that only three public choices justified favouritism and the rest in the eight-event card including the two on-money favourites, Del Marco in the opener and Acclaimed in the feature failed in their mission to start their campaign on a winning note, floored the followers of form and the Jackpot pool hunters, who also failed to crack the five-horse puzzle.

That the lesser fancied contestants were up and ready to drill holes in the favourite circle was established the moment the public rage Del Marco appeared to have lost his galloping shoes in the opener. Despite the leading pro Pradeep Chouhan making every effort to help Del Marco raise a gallop, the Dominic ward lacked the gas in the tank to make a race of it and eventually finished a tame third behind the surprise winner Rich Revival from Neil Darashah's yard who was not fancied and the runner-up Secret Prayer who was touted as a moral place bet by his connections. How and why was Del Marco backed to the exclusion of his nine rivals is the question many wise heads are asking and the answer to that is: most track reporters got carried away after watching the Dominic ward trounce his much higher rated stablemate Sherlock Homes in his final preparatory gallop and the good word was out that Dominic has an ace up his sleeve in the opener. Well the ace failed to keep pace and the good word ended in a bad tale, the big favourite players running helter-skelter looking for shelter after the opening event.  

Trainer Sandhu provided the umbrella for the fortunate ones in the next event, the strongly fancied Fortunate One winning the lower division of the Dandeli Plate in emphatic fashion. Back after five years in a profession which brought him fame and shame, Sandhu who gained his licence in the summer season struggled to enter the winners' circle in Bangalore before he knocked at the door a few times in Mysore. Now that the never-say-die pro has broken ice, it is needless to mention that he will lead in a few more winners this season taking into account that Sandhu works hard on the stock under his care and more importantly he will be more cautious and careful in his effort to play a good long second innings. Union Jack from trainer Faraz Arshad's yard raced in patches  and it will not be long before he earns his cornbill while Inspirator, it appears has gone of the boil. 

The moment trainer Warren Singh declared G Adarsh on Our Little Dragon on Wednesday, the Suleiman Attaollahi camp started to light the candles and blow the balloons ready for the big dance on Friday. Air Dancer shed his maiden status in convincing style and is poised to record an encore. Zulfiqar from trainer B Puttanna's yard despite looking a trifle gross at the paddock did well to finish second and is one for the note book while Our Little Dragon after this easy run will storm home the day he gets a clearance from his master. Enamorata and Forest Queen were understandably not in the hunt knowing that they were pitted against better rivals and that they need to bide their time before they get into a striking position later in the season. 

Enter and canter was the line doing the rounds in the bookmakers ring for the Lokanath ward Prize Finder competing in the Sarb Kla Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs. The bred in the purple gelding garnered the maximum support before he plodded to finish a poor fourth. Havelock Prince from Mahesh's yard won the event. The winner who was strongly tipped as a good place bet was quietly fancied to win by the inner circle who must thank  Prize Finder for getting a lucrative price on their horse Havelock Prince. Now that the `Prince' is in good nick, it will again pay to follow the Mahesh ward when saddled next. Prize Finder is no big gun and he will take time to fire. Androstos looked a little heavy in the parade ring and will perform a lot better in his next essay. Ontime appears to have improved after his summer campaign and this Rashid Byramji ward will run home Ontime when next saddled. 

Just when the supporters of the favourite Ancient Title and the second fancy King Julien were getting ready to cheer and shout, the talented apprentice A Ramu packed punch on the 15 to one long shot Irish Song to spoil the party, winning the Garden City Trophy in style. It is no secret that the owners of Irish Song did not fancy the chances of the winner who after being hopelessly placed produced an astounding gallop in the final furlong to romp home in fine fashion. Ancient Title looked overly fit for the race and this went against the free striding horse. All that this talented sprinter needs is a light workout and he will canter home in his next essay. 

The travel from Pune and the big test on the very first day cost the Dr Vijay Mallya owned Acclaimed dear. The public rage despite being in the box seat for most part of the seven furlongs trip failed to snuff out the challenge of another lesser fancied winner Field Marshal who made every post a winning one in the hands of John to take home the Rajyotsava Trophy, the first big plum of the season. The trainer Padmanabhan, it is learnt didn’t fancy the chances of his ward pointing out that Field Marshal is prepared only in swimming and that the equine pool was closed for more than a week. Well that put no brakes on Field Marshal. Even without swimming he was seen flying and his few supporters enjoyed the act. Acclaimed in defeat was not disgraced and lives to fight another day. IM Different remains a consistent performer and his turn will come before we usher in the new year. 

Booker Jones dropped his rider Trevor Patel at the start of the mile long Chickballapur Plate. The Soprano, favourite by default packed up before negotiating the final curve and the other fancied runner Lucia was hampered by the rider less Brooker Jones. All this and the fact that Medinah was back after being gelded and lacked the fitness made it easy for Big Ticket. Yash Narredu rode a copybook race on the Arjun ward to shock the followers of form. Lucia impressed most among the beaten brigade and it will pay to follow her if her connections chose to race her next in a handicap event rather than target her for the 1000 Guineas. 

The speedy Anfield had the best credentials in the upper division of the Dandeli Plate, the concluding event run over a sprint. Ramu astride Anfield took a neat jump and stole a march and then gallantly held on to peg back the effort of The Jaguar. Spanish Fly who loves to race on the rails was never provided with the opportunity, his rider Anjar Alam not quick enough to gain the favourable position early and then going on a conducted tour of Bengaluru before finishing a good third. Anjar time and again has performed below par. The boy needs to be told that he needs to be more alert at the gates and provide a reasonably good ride to his mount rather than play polo on a race track.