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By Ikram Khan | 27 Dec 2014 | BANGALORE

Trainer S Padmanabhan leading Sun Moon And Stars (David Allan Up), winner of The A.P Kothavala Memorial Cup

It appears that Padmanabhan was waiting for the Scottish pro David Allan to arrive to provide the icing on the Christmas cake. The leading pro led in four winners to the delight of his supporters including two well planned gambles on Liege Lord and Baracchus, while  David recorded a treble on his maiden appearance  this season.

The trainer-jockey combination opened their account through the on-money favourite Tanganyika in the Kemmangundi Plate before the smart looking daughter of Bobcat Greeley, Sun Moon And Stars from the Kunigal Stud Farm made a smashing debut in the A P Kothavala Memorial Cup run over a sprint.

The B Puttanna schooled Garuda surprisingly opened the favourite despite the fact that the rangy colt had struggled  to keep pace in his debut. The fact that he had a run benefit and that he  produced a satisfactory performance in his final preparatory gallop  was not the right indicator for his connections to support him strongly but they chose to ignore his below par debut and paid the penalty.

Castle Key was one other from trainer Arjun Manglorkar’s yard who was being touted as a roof top bet and the Arjun ward in fact closed joined favourite with Garuda. But the moment he entered the straight, Trevor appeared to have lost the key to the castle and at end it was clear that Arjun and his supporters were only building castles in the air.  Sun Moon And Stars won unleashing good turn of speed in the final furlong.  The fashionably bred Heaven Is Here despite bolting on her way to the starting gate finished a game second ahead of Super Success who was seen finishing on purposefully at end.

In the next event, the upper division of the Sumnmer Dust Plate, last start winner Speedstress from Darius Byramji  was the overwhelming favourite. But the public choice for more reasons than one chose to grace the wrong end of the field, leading pro Pradeep Chouhan making no effort to improve his position before finishing third, long after the Padmanabhan-trained Liege Lord had romped home in the hands of Asgar. 

It is true that Speedstress would not have beaten Liege Lord on this day but the manner in which Chouhan guided the fortunes of the on-money favourite  seeks explanation taking into account the below par effort of the leading jockey.  Most followers of form disappointed with the inept effort of Chouhan questioned the  abiity of senior stipe Wayne Wood,  pointing out that the Aussie  was not exercising the required vigil  to rope in the  push-pull train efforts of leading pros on public choices.

The leading Indian jockeys time and again have pointed out that with the foreign riders coming in the Indian boys do not get adequate chances to parade their skills, but with efforts like this most owners  will feel safe to get a foreigner to make their investments count in this game.

Padmanabhan and David Allan signed off in resplendent style in the concluding event, the lower division of the Raichur Plate, the quietly, yet, sweetly fancied Baracchus edging out the favourite Hendrix close home.  The winner who in the past has produced a few game performances despite suffering from a wind problem was sent out in spot on condition and the game galloper justified the confidence of his connections who chose to back him down from sixes to fours. Tracking Hendrix all through the seven furlongs trip David Allan packed punch in the final furlong before gaining the day in the final 50 metres.  Hendrix, it must be mentioned in defeat was not disgraced and lives to fight another day.

Earlier, the Suleiman Attaollahi schooled Coriolis fresh from his impressive performance in the 2000 Guineas at Malakpet (Hyderabad), second behind the talented Dare To Dream proved too good for his seven rivals in the Jog Cup, the plum event run over a mile.  Amistad did well to finish second ahead of Evraz while the second in demand at the betting ring, Aashikaara went out of gas after negotiating the final curve.

The in-form but lesser fancied Vigorous won the Haveri Plate from Cadogan. The favourite Wings Of Fortune from Narayan Gowda’s yard was backed to the exclusion of his 11 rivals but Kiran Rai’s patchy effort on the public choice helped Vigorous record his second win this season. Ungoogleable finished a notable second ahead of the public choice while Little Love flattered to deceive when the race came on a boil.

The biggest  successful gamble of the season came in the opening event, Trojan who was not quoted in the odds in the morning, backed down to favouritism despite the lesserlight Velu  astride the Neil Darashah ward. Full marks to Neil for his  confidence on his ward who made the task of  what appeared a trifle nervous Velu easy.

The upper division of the Raichur Plate saw Star Of Destiny post his second win in style.  The winner snuffed out the challenge of Saltoro Ridge while the favourite Fourth Dimension who had impressed most while starting the season on a winning note appeared to have lost his galloping shoes much to the disappointment of the railbirds who fancied the Darius Byramji ward to provide an encore.