FLY LIKE THE WIND AND C.ALFORD PULL IT OFF
Mr Subir Dasgupta & Mr Tegbir Brar leading Fly Like The Wind (C Alford Up), winner of The Calcutta 1000 Guineas (Gr.3)
Barring a couple of races in the long nine-event card, favourites ruled the roost at the RCTC on Saturday. The feature of the day, The Calcutta 1000 Guineas, with a pay packet of near Rs 39 lakh to the winner, saw Vijay Singh-trained Fly Like The Wind (Win Legend – Ice Point/ Dashmesh Stud) ridden flat out by Christopher Alford to keep at bay Sunshine Girl who was threatening to sneak in along the rails in the hands of Sandesh. The winning filly thus lived up to her highest rating in the small field of five. As expected, forward filly Resolution set the pace till the top of the straight where the eventual winner took over and survived a strong challenge from the runner-up. Outstation challenger Aralyn was a none too impressive fourth.
One race earlier, The Topmost Cup run over 1100 metres, was bagged by Patrick Quinn-trained Home Alone (Glory Of Dancer-Shockwave/ Kehelan Stud) who came with raking strides in the final furlong to peg back Smooth As Silk who was shaping as a winner at the distance post. The 9/4 favourite Hurricane Star appears to have reached the end of his tether. Speedy Macedonian called it quits at the distance post and Smooth As Silk took over briefly before succumbing to the winner who was neglected by quite a few in view of the sharp trip.
The afternoon started with a mishap (which could have been far worse for the rider Arman) as the youngster Whispering Hope (making his run along the rails) found a pothole and was badly injured though he did not come down, which probably saved his rider. That part of the track was subsequently inspected and set right. It’s quite likely that he would have won the race as he was easily the fastest moving horse. The race was picked up by the first of Bharath Singh’s three winners. Two-year-old chestnut colt Sam Houston (Lucifer Sam-Indian Relative/ Sans Craines Stud) was hard-ridden by Md Islam to overhaul the favourite Midnight Magic close home. The initial pace was set by the runaway Shylock who fizzled out at the distance post.
Trainer Javed Khan pocketed both divisions of The Wheels Handicap with People Prime and Oath Of Valour. The former, a filly by Sharp Attack out of Bells of Holland (Gee Stud) was rather cleverly handled by Mahesh as he permitted the warring front-runners Snow Ball, Hayata and The Great Hannible to battle it out before taking charge at the top of the straight and winning quite comfortably in the end.
The lower division saw the withdrawal of second favourite Chinese Takeaway at the starting gates on veterinary grounds. The cynosure of all eyes was the favourite filly Oath Of Valour (Oath-Lady Valeri/ Pratap Stud) whose jockey Riaz was suspended in her previous outing as she was not permitted to run on her merit. Though penalised 1.5kg after that run, jockey Shailesh Shinde had little trouble in guiding her past front-running Alicante for a comfortable victory.
Bharath Singh led in his second winner of the afternoon when Kabini (CP West-Ekta Ekta Ekta/ Galloping Acres Stud) was piloted by a confident Dashrath Singh to land the spoils in the Star Flame Handicap with a degree of comfort. El Cid and Analyst fought it out for the minor placings. The rest of the runners were well behind the named trio.
Bharath completed his treble with another hot favourite Santos (Burden Of Proof-Flamingo Fair/ Kunigal Stud) to give drought-ridden Sandesh his only winner of the afternoon. The three-year-old chestnut colt won easily from top-weight Gallop To Glory while the others were never really in it.
Trainer Arti Doctor’s Confidence (Glory Of Dancer – Confluence/ Kehelan Stud) returned to winning ways with a thumping victory in the Zifi Handicap while carrying top-weight. Heavily gambled Mephistopheles ended up poor a third. The latter’s connections conveyed that he may need to be gelded.
The curtain came down with Vijay Singh-schooled Altanza (Multidimensional-Alvarada/Usha Stud) giving her backers a torrid time and quite a few missing heart-beats, as she jumped out tardily and fell back further -- nearly a good 15 lengths behind the field. Apprentice Munna Alam did not give up the fight and urged his mount on with a couple of cracks of his whalebone. Rather astonishingly, she made up the leeway before the turning for home and then scooted ahead to eventually hold on to her advantage by a neck from fast-finishing Follow The Dream.