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By Ikram Khan | 31 Dec 2016 | BANGALORE

Trainer SS Attaollahi leading Azzurro (P Trevor Up), winner of The Chief Minister's Trophy

First things first.  A very Happy New Year to all the administrators, pros and racing buffs.  Make the New Year more exciting, more eventful and most beautiful.  

Back after booting home four winners on Friday, top gun Srinath and leading pro Suraj Narredu brought the 2016 curtain down with stand-out performances, Suraj recording a treble on New Year eve and Srinath added two more victories to ring in the New Year in style.

Suraj was at his best on the on-money favourite Azzurro in the final plum of the year, the Chief Minister’s Trophy run over a distance of 2000 metres. After Trevor Patel astride Captain Morgan  had stolen a march and kicked clear, hoping that Suraj would press the panic button, the top pro displayed exemplary temperament to stay calm and composed and launch an assault in the final furlong to gain the day by the shortest of margins. It was a classic contest which delighted the racing buffs and with the result in their favour, they provided, both Suraj and Trevor a standing ovation.

Well more than Sulaiman Attaollahi who was delighted with the thrilling 1-2 result, one could not miss the big smile on the face of the URBB managing director Zeyn Mirza. More than Azzurro coming up trumps, it was Captain Morgan’s performance which pleased Zeyn most and the Vijay Mallya camp now believe that they are in with a big shout in the  blue riband of the season on the Republic Day.

Suraj started the day guiding home the Mohd. Khan schooled Turf Star to a popular victory in the Glass House Plate. Twice second from as many starts, Mohd Khan continued to target the youngster to go one better and third time lucky it proved to be for the Mohd ward. The youngster now has picked up stakes equal to two wins from his three starts and this certainly helps the owner. While we laud the effort of Mohd.Khan, it is disappointing that many trainers don’t toe this line, taking it easy with the juveniles, not really looking at easing the pressure on the investment made by the owner. Chemical Romance from Neil Darashah’s yard finished second ahead of Maybe Forever who will take time to shed her maiden status.

Suraj next booted home the fancied winner, Only Prince from Sriram Komandur’s yard in the Ghataprabha Plate run over a distance of seven furlongs. Sriram who proudly led in War Envoy after he edged out the public rage Reference on Friday was satisfied most, two good winners in the final week of the year. The Dominic schooled High Admiral was backed to the exclusion of his 11 rivals in this event but the public choice met a tartar in Only Prince and it was the `Prince’ who emerged the King on this day.

Earlier in the lower division of the Splendid Role Plate, Find from Arjun Manglorkar’s yard garnered the maximum support. But the favourite after gaining pole position stopped galloping 600 metres from home suffering an injury. The lesser fancied Girl With Pearl from Prasanna Kumar’s yard won in the hands of Imran Khan. Varsha finished second ahead of Jayadratha  and it will not be long before this Komandur ward too will earn her cornbill.

The upper division of the event was claimed by the Arjun Manglorkar schooled Saga who after three below par efforts in summer got it right in her maiden attempt this season. Red Galileo was the top fancy but despite Imran Khan going hammer and tongs, Galileo lacked the ability to match strides with Saga. Now that the winner has entered the winners’ circle, it will pay to follow Saga again in her next essay. 

After booting home Saga, Srinath was touted to have it easy on Anantara in the Narasimharaja Trophy but the public choice it is learnt was trotting lame and was withdrawn at the starting gates   and now Srinath had to wait for the final event to hit a `six’ this week-end.

Astride the second in demand at the betting ring, Lamrei from Gregory Sandhu’s yard in the Gomos Plate , Srinath tracked the hot favourite Mayweather for most part of the seven furlongs trip before he streaked ahead and without unduly extending Lamrei put the issue beyond doubt in the final furlong.  Mayweather blew up like a pricked balloon approaching the distance post and this cost the punters dear. Little Love finished second in the hands of apprentice Manish while Valentine Babe, another from Sriram Komandur’s yard who caught the eye while finishing a suggestive third.

The  well supported Exemplar helped Prasanna record a double making every post a winning one in the Madhugiri Plate run over a mile. T S Jodha pushed the favourite to the front the moment, the 10 runners came under the starter’s flag and was never headed. James Bond finished a game second and it will pay to keep an eye on this Inayathullah ward in the weeks ahead.