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By Epsom Ace | 11 Feb 2017 | KOLKATA

Mr Joydeep Datta Gupta & trainer Bharath Singh leading Serendine (Dashrath Singh Up), winner of The Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr.3)

The rollicking finish of The Queen Elizabeth Second Cup complemented the glamour associated with this age old race at RCTC on Saturday. Bharath Singh’s lesser fancied runner Serendine (Multidimensional-Flowersoftheforest/ Usha Stud) edged out the 4/1 second favourite and stablemate Triumphus in a close contest which brought visitors to the edge of their seats. The whips were flashing in the final furlong and the ding-dong battle could have gone either way. It would be fair to say that apart from the weight advantage that four-year-olds are entitled to in such ‘terms’ races, it was in-form jockey Dashrath Singh’s hard finishing power that finally made the difference. On a fast track, the winner quite easily broke the three-minute barrier for the mile-and-three-quarter trip but fell well short of  Diabolical’s record.

The same syndicate of owners from the Bharath Singh yard had led in Lochinvar (Admiralofthefleet-Loch Katrine/ Kunigal Stud) in the day’s opening event, The French Cup. The stable resorted to runaway tactics on this occasion and it paid rich dividends as  in the hands of Dashrath Singh, the colt held on to his fast diminishing advantage in the home stretch. I Told You Know was seen to move with giant strides on the wide outside but the winning post came to Lochinvar’s rescue. The  Bharath Singh stable completed their treble with a facile victory in the Calcutta Million. Their ward Castlebridge (Burden Of Proof-Castle Queen/ Kunigal Stud) made the prize mile event a start-to-finish affair in the hands of Trevor Patel. Sana was the best of the rest.

There were quite a few “pleasant surprises” in store for some of the winning stables while punters got the rough end of the stick. It is an innocently apt euphemism for describing the in-and-out running of horses. Javed Khan’s Rustler (Stardan-Pretty N Fast/ Rolli Stud) set the trend with a narrow victory over Kaartikien in the upper division of The Selvel Cup. The withdrawal of Pure Sin in the lower division of the same race opened the gates for Shyam Habbu’s Fire Falcon to take a shot. It paid off as the eight-year-old by Ontario out of La Genereuse quite easily accounted for  his chief rival Words. Another Glory produced another  disappointing run. Bath-trained Abigail (Multidimensional-Violetta/ Usha Stud) was the third such runner to win on the trot. She made every post of The Philippines Cup a winning one with One Man Army in tow.

Available at lucrative odds (possibly because big bettors were wary after the triple-whammy), Vijay Singh-trained Celerino (Arazan-Chantale) with S. John in the saddle won the lower division of the Philippines Cup rather easily. In this race, Millennium Falcon burst  his blood vessels while the favourite Stand And Dance was never really in it.

The upper division of The Portugal Cup saw yet another unfancied runner in the form of Cool Conqueror (Kingda Ka – Amount/ Nanoli Stud) come good. Mohit Singh rode the Jasbir Singh trained runner. The favourite Dixie Diamond left all his chances at the gates while another well-backed contestant Hibiki ended up a fair third. Richard Alford-trained City Heights (Ikhtyar-City Tamer/ Nanoli Stud) made the upper division of the Portugal Cup a one-horse race as he outpaced Indus Prince.

The curtain came down to the long-drawn afternoon of racing with local favourite Christopher Alford  coming good astride Arti Doctor-trained Glorious Leaps (Lucifer Sam-Perfect Rhythm/ Sans Craintes Stud) in The Malaysia Cup. Since returning to the track after his injury earlier in the season, the “darling” of the local rail birds has yet to win a hard-fought race. King’s Crown, Taygetus and Glorious Leaps registered fairly straight forward, comfortable victories. Dashrath Singh is currently leading the jockeys’ championship table and Alford will no doubt have to go the extra mile to overhaul the western India saddle artist. He has still has nine more racedays to do it in.