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By Epsom Ace | 21 Oct 2016 | KOLKATA

Whomakestherules Calcutta Monsoon Derby winner

The brief monsoon meeting drew to a close last week after 17 racedays of competitive racing. While heavy showers made it difficult for jockeys and runners alike on several occasions, form held good in a majority of the races.  Fortunately, the plum of the season – The Calcutta Monsoon Derby – was run under a clear sky on a fast track.

Outstation challenger Whomakestherules closed as the even-money favourite and impressed all and sundry when he won the Calcutta Monsoon Derby with a degree of comfort. The 2000 metres race was run according to the script without any untoward incidents. Malesh Narredu’s final entrant Whomakestherules (Multidimensional-Pricewise / Usha Stud) was in devastating form as he cut down the local opposition to size in no uncertain manner. However, the filly Dysnomia did bring some cheer into the Vijay Singh camp as she was easily the best of the rest. The Vijay Singh stable used two pacemakers in Fabienne and Sans Prix while Suraj Narredu and Whomakestherules sat in a box seat and waited patiently for the short straight to appear after the final hairpin. Once at the top of the straight, Suraj showed his mount daylight and he did the rest with a couple of reminders. S John atop Dysnomia waited for the favourite to make his move before setting off in hot pursuit but to no avail.

The connections of Whomakestherules have decided to station the colt in the city so that he  can take a tilt at The 2000 Guineas and winter Derby. After his Monsoon Derby showing, the leading local stables must be already planning their moves to outwit their rival in chief.  

Champion trainer Vijay Singh must be happy with the versatile performance of his filly Dysnomia who won the Juvenile Sprint, The Fillies Trial and ended up a fair second in The Derby.

A heavy shower, dark clouds and murky weather was not exactly the most conducive climate to run the season’s first classic, but the six-horse race was pretty well contested by three outstation riders, S John (on piping hot favourite Interstellar), PS Chouhan (on Xotica) and Suraj Narredu (on Dysnomia).

It is a fact that money can’t always fetch a race. Though money poured in on Javed Khan-trained Xotica and she closed as the close second favourite at 2/1, she failed narrowly in her quest to pick up the season’s first plum – The Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes. The race was pocketed by 6/1 shot Dysnomia (Rebuttal-A La Votre/ Hazara Stud) from Vijay Singh’s yard with Suraj Narredu in the saddle. It would be fair to say that Narredu positioned his mount in a more convenient position and this was largely responsible for his success on the short Kolkata straight. The one-and-half lengths or so advantage that he held over Xotica was good enough to see him through as the latter diminished the margin of victory to a neck, after being compelled to take the turn four wide. The public choice Interstellar took the shortest route home but was found wanting when asked for an effort to accelerate in the straight. She was involved in a very hard-fought encounter in her last essay two weeks ago and this may have taken a toll on her. 

Ten runners faced the starter for The Calcutta Cots Trial Stakes but none of them was a cut above the rest. Hence, the race turned out to be highly competitive with horsemanship playing a key role. Local champion Christopher Alford displayed his mastery on his home turf with an astonishing triumph atop Tweedle Dee.

It was one of the scrappiest Colts Trial Stakes in recent history with three jockeys fined a sum of Rs 10,000 each and champion saddle artist Christopher Alford getting off lightly with a reprimand. It would be fair to say that the entire chaos in the ten-horse field was kick-started by Ashhad Asbar who went on a diagonal route with Theo immediately after jumping out from the gates.

Once in the straight, Christopher Alford rode out  Bharath Singh-trained Tweedle Dee (Juniper-Linette/ Capricorn Stud) in his inimitable attractive manner to sail past the front-runners and post a no-holds-barred win. The victory salute while passing the winning post said it all! While Alford’s immense will-to-win must be appreciated, his modus operandi may at times leave ‘gentleman riders’ exasperated and frustrated.

Kamlesh was the sufferer of ‘reckless riding’ once again when another champion jockey S John took a leaf out of Alford’s book and knocked the former’s mount Silken Grace out of the race for The Helping Hand Handicap. Whether the filly would have won otherwise is another matter altogether. James Mc Keown-trained Aaron’s (Win Legend-Aracruz/ Dashmesh Stud) made it a start-to-finish affair after John cut in sharply from an outside draw. He too got away with a reprimand.

Apprentice Aakash Rajput was one of the finds of the season. The very apprentice who was without a win till mid-way through the season, bagged the ‘best apprentice award’, and he has trainer Vikash Jaiswal to thank for that. The schooler persisted with the lad even after a string of failures. After he opened his account with a brace over a month ago, there has been no looking back and Akash Rajput’s confidence level had been soaring high – culminating with a fabulous hat-trick on September21.  What was even more encouraging was the fact that in all three cases, the on-money public choices were being ridden by reputed jockeys. After his initial triumphs, the apprentice had been securing rides outside his stable as well and it was one such ride in the stable of HS Bath that started the ball rolling for the youngster.

Mustang (S John up) was considered a mere formality in the Marinsky Plate while second favourite Arabian Sky was the threat if any. However, what transpired was a little different as Roman Ridges (Holy Roman Emperor-Blue Ridges) switched course mid-way down the straight in the hands of Rajput and pegged back the runaway Mustang close home. Vikash Jaiswal’s Jorell (Varenar-Eubee)  was next on Rajput’s list of winners. Coming in from an outside draw, he nursed his mount till the final furlong while C. Alford atop Cool Hunter tried runaway tactics. Thereafter, it was all Jorell. Rajput completed his hat-trick astride Knighthood (Arazan-Dementieva) who lost some ground at the start and yet got the better of runaway Mister Majestic in the final stride. It was a grandstand finish befitting of his achievement.