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By Ikram Khan | 29 Nov 2014 | BANGALORE

Mr Rajan Aggarwal, Mr Gautam Agarwal & trainer Darius Byramji leading Alexandra Mills (YS Srinath Up), winner of The Bangalore 1000 Guineas (Gr.2)

The moment Alexandra Mills `nosed' out Nuray by the shortest of margins in the first classic of the season, the Bangalore 1000 Guineas, the unassuming owner Rajan Agarwal looked up at the sky while his brother Gautam pumped his fist in delight. Four decades in racing and more than 400 horses in training and not a single classic success was hard on the Agarwals. The roll of the dice nor the wheel of fortune swung in their favour. They just kept hoping that their turn will come. And  it all came good on Saturday. It was worth the long wait. This was the day they were looking for and this was one moment they will cherish most. And left to them, the two brothers, Rajan and Gautam  would willingly  take the last furlong of the track and make a memorable lawn at home.

"I understand that it is not easy to enter the classic circle despite the fact that all one needs is a good horse and good luck to enter the Hall Of Fame. The fact that it took 40 years to break the ice is not what we had bargained for in the sport we adore," said Rajan while lauding the effort of the top `Knight' Srinath who produced his best on the champion filly Alexandra Mills.

Trainer Darius Byramji and owner Rajan Agarwal were classmates at St.Joseph's boys school. Darius was the son of the legendary trainer Rashid Byramji  while Rajan's father Ravi Agarwal was a  owner  with a sizeable string. Growing up, the two friends enjoyed the sport which brought them fame without the thought that one day the two would together stand tall on the classic podium. Alexandra Mills made it happen for the school mates and more than the boys, papa Rashid Byramji just loved it. He was the one who asked Rajan to close the deal after Rajan and his friend had spotted the classy daughter of Ace out of Caractere at the Poonawalla Stud Farm. And Rashid Byramji it was who first nominated her to parade her skills on the classic scene.

"Well all credit to Darius and Srinath. The filly suffered a minor setback in summer but Darius slowly, yet surely nursed her and despite not being spot on for the event, the brave heart produced her best and made us all proud, " said Rajan immensely pleased with his maiden classic success.

After the nohoper Obelinna Princess and Fatal Attraction set a decent pace for most part of the mile long classic trip, the Neil Darashah ward Nuray seized the initiative at the business end before Srinath setalight Alexandra Mills and the champion snuffed out the challenge of Nuray by the proverbial whisker. Lucia and Pure Allure impressed most while finishing purposefully at end and the Oaks now holds promise of another epic battle.

After three weeks, the first juvenile race was staged and it produced a worthy winner, the lesser fancied Marine One pegging back the effort of the public choice, Areca Wonder close home. The Phoenix Tower progeny who looked a picture of fitness at the parade ring was ridden in copybook style by Steyn and it is needless to mention that the Manjri Stud farm is delighted with the success story of their stallion. 

Fortaleza who failed to break the ice in the Mysore season was surprisingly backed to the exclusion of her six rivals in the opening event, but all that she did was to take a lot of good money down the drain. The lesser fancied Ocean Park, another from Neil's yard won with a degree of comfort from Above And Beyond who in his attempt to make every post a winning one lost his legs in the final furlong.

The connections of Turf Tactics pulled of a successful game. The winner  was considered a `moral certainty' after the Hello Boss camp developed cold feet before the event. With just one horse to tackle, Southern Fantasy who like Fortaleza is yet to find her galloping shoes, the Hidayat Khan supporters took one big punt and the moment Turf Tactics changed gears they were all smiling on their way to the bank.

Most old hats in the game and the track reporters were of the view that the Suleiman Attaollahi ward Commissariat was one good bet in the nine-event card. The half brother tp Aztec Gold justified  their rating, cantering home in the hands of Vaibhav who stayed cool and allowed the Suleiman ward to settle down before stepping on the gas approaching the distance post. Commissariat looks a goodtype and more will be heard of him in the months ahead. Amanda had a fair share of her supporters but after streaking ahead at the top of the straight she found Commissariat too hot to handle when the race came on a boil.

Putanna many thought held a whiphand in the juveniles event, Areca Wonder and Garuda garnering maximum support but after his juveniles lost out, One Of A Kind brought the smile back on the face of the veteran trainer in the lower division of the Davanagere Cup, Last start winner Aqua Aria produced a late dash in the hands of whipless Ramu but that was just not good enough to stop One Of A Kind  romping home to a popular win. The favourite Imperial Verse raced in patches while finishing third and it will not be long before she earns her cornbill. Amazon Bay was never in the hunt and it will pay to follow the Nithyanand ward when saddled to contest in a sprint event.

After his success at Mysore, Topspot rightly garnered the maximum support in the Sohna Stud Plate but the well backed favourite burst his blood vessel negotiating the final curve and that left his supporters bleeding not knowing how to recover from the red nose. Magnitude Star recorded a shock win in the hands of Nitin Singh and on the strength of this victory is set to provide an encore.

The public rage Azzurro justified his top billing in the upper division of the Swarnamukhi Plate but not before the Arvind Ganapathy ward Mandarin provided a scare 200 metres from home before he failed to sustain his run in the end. The runner-up who appears to have improved most is a sitter when next saddled. Azzurro will next compete in the higher class and he will need to do a lot better to repeat his act.

Force Ensign in the final event looked a winner at the paddock parade. The public choice provided the icing on the Darius classic cake storming home to win without unduly extending himself. Abba did well to take the second spot while Suezy Oh, who appeared a trifle gross at the paddock never  raised a gallop.