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By Ikram Khan | 23 Dec 2016 | BANGALORE

Trainer V Narayana Gowda leading Mickey Mouse (P Trevor Up), winner of The Kempegowda Cup Div-1

After a long gap followers of form enjoyed their moment under the cool winter sun, most fancied contestants nailing bold colours to the mast to the delight of the railbirds.

On the strength of his second behind Atlantis  in his last essay, the Gregory Sandhu-trained Wear The Hat was the top fancy in the opening event, the Horanadu Plate run over a sprint and the public choice justified the confidence of his supporters,  stylishly donning the winning hat. Thundersquall  finished second ahead of the much improved El Matador while Opening Act again failed to get her act right.

Demoted and competing in the lowest class, Active Grey from trainer Narayan Gowda’s  yard found favour in the Kemmangudi Plate run over a mile and the grey who was consistently hitting the board  in the upper class  grabbed the opportunity to earn his cornbill in this class. New Mallet finished second ahead of Noble Princess who too had her fair share of supporters while Granada took the fourth spot.

After guiding Active Grey home, Suraj Narredu had little difficulty in helping the goodtype of youngster Phoenix Falcon record his second straight success, winning the A P Kothavala Memorial Cup in emphatic style. The bred in the purple Haedi’s Folly from trainer Darius Byramji’s yard who was touted as a good bet by most turf hawks impressed by her movements in the morning trials failed to match strides with the talented colt and with a benefit of this run may well be a different proposition next time out. Land Of Liberty despite looking heavy did well to finish fourth and it will pay to keep an eye on this Nithyanand youngster.

After losing out to Integrated by the shortest of margins, Life Awaits from Sriram Komandur’s yard  on paper was unbeatable in the lower division of the Kempegowda Cup, taking into account t hat Integrated in his next effort in the higher class had detonated a classy field. Most big bettors went big on Life Awaits and the in-form Sriram ward in the hands of Pradeep Chouhan cruised home without really extending  himself. Calico Jack finished second ahead of Eragon who is slowly, yet surely getting into shape to enter the winners’ circle in the weeks ahead.     

The upper division of the event was claimed by the lesser fancied Mickey Mouse from trainer Narayan Gowda’s yard piloted by Trevor Patel.  The winner who normally attempts pillar to post tactics was ridden in check by Trevor and this change in strategy chalked out by the connections of Mickey Mouse brought home the desired result. Super Succerss in the hands of apprentice Darshan finished a game second ahead of  Ace Badraan.

In the Raichur Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs, Ghoonj from the stables of Sirajuddin and the Dominic-trained Racing Fire garnered the maximum support.  The latter emerged a winner while the former after raising hopes at the top of the straight flopped badly and finished of the frame. The Gregory Sandhu schooled Lightning Strikes could well have kicked out the `Jodi’ had the runner-up not encountered a rough passage at the start. Erstklassig finished third while Frenemee leisurely came home fourth.

The Prasanna Kumar schooled Rare Rhythm was backed to the exclusion of his 11 runners in the Summer Dust Plate. The winner confidently piloted by Imran Khan hit the front the moment the big field negotiated the final curve and then held on gamely to score from Chloe and Super Smart who caught the eye.

To the surprise of most knowledgeable, the Irfan Ghatala schooled Zubaida who was competing after a 17-month lay-off  was fancied most in the U R Siddeshwarappa Memorial Plate. The public choice after leading for most part of the sprint trip went out of gas and in a charge of the light brigade the ten to one shot Blues Legend stormed through to score from the second in demand at the betting ring Bazinga. Liege Lord who looked a picture at the paddock parade finished a creditable third. Zubaida make no mistake will improve most after this effort and  strike in the new year.