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By Epsom Ace | 24 Dec 2016 | KOLKATA

Trainer Shyam S Habbu (Deputising trainer P Shroff) leading Your Royal Majesty (Y S Srinath Up), winner of The Army Cup

Top-weight jockey YS Srinath recorded a popular back-to-back double in spectacular manner at RCTC on Saturday.  Manvendra Singh-trained Theo (Top Class-Real Queen/ Mukteshwar Stud) was backed down to half-money in The General AS Vaidya Memorial Cup, while second favourite Half Volley was available at 5/1.  The other runners were at higher odds. One Man Army and Pick Pocket called the early shots while Theo was running in mid-division. Half-Volley was well-positioned to strike and  it was Neeraj Rawal on the latter who made the first move. Realising that matters might take a turn for the worse if he left it too late, Srinath immediately went into action and switched his mount to the wide outside before putting him into top gear. With a 100 metres to go, it seemed as if Half-Volley may pull it off, but Srinath’s power-packed finish paid rich dividends as Theo overhauled his nearest adversary in the shadow of the winning post.

 Srinath next guided home Pesi Shroff-trained Your Royal Majesty (Multidimensional-Are You My Miracle/ Usha Stud) to a thundering victory in the Army Cup. Lying third till heads turned for home, Your Royal Majesty shot ahead in the straight and was hotly pursued by Commander. Once again, it was the visiting jockey’s hard riding that gained the day.

Barring these two popular victories and the win of Lhotse, racegoers were in for quite a few rude shocks as totally friendless Celtic King and Anastasio (first-time-out this season) lifted The L Fownes Memorial Cup and The Hyderabad Race Club Cup respectively. Vikash Jaiswal-trained Celtic King (Noverre-Odabella/Sohna Stud) caused quite a sensation when the six-year-old moved with giant strides in the straight to get the better of Few Dollars More and Oath Of Allegiance. The favourite Ophion (who was incidentally 1.5kg out of the scale) finished in the ruck.

Bath-trained Anastasio (Varenar-You Say I Say) made it a start to finish affair in the hands of jockey Shezad Khan. The favourite Make Way For Me was totally outpaced while Valentino and Knighthood finished well to be second and third respectively.

There was another upset in the PC Lall of Nazargunj Memorial Cup where Bharath Singh-trained Rufus (Lord Admiral-You Are So Beautiful/ Sans Craintes Stud) was piloted by Arshad Alam to fairly comfortable victory. Trainer Bharath Singh occupied the first three slots while the favourite Adi’s Delight was a poor fifth. Shohin is one for the notebook.

Shafiq Khan-trained Lhotse (Tejano-So Perfect/ Kunigal Stud) won the opener of the day as a 2/1 favourite. Apprentice jockey Hindu Singh has been riding well of late and his proficiency was tested on this occasion as he waited for front-running, top-weight Sergeant Major to drift out to the outer rails before making his move confidently down the middle of the straight.

Neeraj Rawal rode a purposeful finish to finally hoist the winning flag for Annie Oakley (Noverre-Tekindia/ Sohna Stud) who is currently stabled with Robert Gowli. Ridden in check on this occasion, she moved with giant strides to get the better of Monsieur Strauss and Fite Of Honour. The favourite Le Havre ran a poor race and may have needed the outing.